(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The battle of Tsu-shima : between the Japanese and Russian fleets, fought on 27th May 1905"

THE BATTLE 
F TSUSHIMA 



SBMHNOFF 



-NSLATED BY CAPTAIN A. B. LINDSAY 



^Dai/id ©.^Uc^ay ^ikainj 




DS 

517.5 

S5 





^£ 







DATE DUE 


APR 


9% 19ft 


"> 




ft! i* 


£j ?£J f*r *»■ 






HQ¥ £ § 


•S91 






























































































































CAYLORD 




|||B , B 


PftlNTCO IN U.S.A. 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 
Brigham Young University-Idaho 



r" 



http://archive.org/details/battleoftsushima01seme 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 



First Edition 
Rep>inUd . 
Reprinted . 
Reprinted . 
Reprinted . 
Reprinted . 
Reprinted . 



December 1906 

February 1907 

March 1907 

July 1908 

October 1909 

September 19 10 

January 191 2 









THE BATTLE OF 
TSUSHIMA 

BETWEEN THE JAPANESE AND RUSSIAN 
FLEETS, FOUGHT ON 27TH MAY 1905 

BY CAPTAIN VLADIMIR SEMENOFF 

(one of the survivors) 

TRANSLATED BY 
CAPTAIN A. B. LINDSAY 

2ND KING EDWARD'S OWN GURKHA RIFLES 

WITH A PREFACE BY 

SIR GEORGE SYDENHAM CLARKE 
G.C.M.G., F.R.S. 



NEW YORK 
E. P. DUTTON & COMPANY 

19*3 



'''Captain Semenoff's little volume, which would well 
n repay translation, is a remarkably graphic and luminous 
' ' account of Admiral Togo's great victory, compiled from 
" notes taken by the author during the engagement. His 
" account is all the more interesting as he was also on the 
" Cesarevitch when Admiral Vitoft made his unsuccessful 
"attempt to escape from Port Arthur on 10th August 
" 1904. . . . Every word of this little volume bears the 
"impress of reality, and enables the reader to form a 
" vivid picture of the various phases of the battle. There 
e ' is a plan showing the positions of the contending fleets 
"from 1.20 till 7 p.m." 

— Times Literary Supplement, 17th August 1906. 



PREFACE 

The paucity of war experience since 
the introduction of the steam - driven 
armoured ship invests the battle of 
Tsu-shima with supreme importance. 
Between Trafalgar and the 27th May 
1905, there had been only two fleet 
actions on a large scale — those of Lissa 
and of the Yalu — and the first was fought 
before the wooden vessel had disappeared 
and the rifled gun had become universal. 
The various minor engagements which 
occurred during this long period were 
either destitute of teaching, or failed to 



vi PREFACE 

provide an adequate basis for conclusions 
capable of serving as guides to a rational 
system of tactics or to a scientific ship- 
building policy. 

It has, therefore, followed, in this 
country especially, that the evolution 
of the warship has been frequently 
capricious, indicating the absence of 
any clear principles, and entailing an 
immense total expenditure upon vessels 
unsuited to our national requirements, 
but happily not forced to demonstrate 
their inutility. 

In all wars, whether by sea or land, 
some few general lessons stand out un- 
mistakably ; but the difficulty of arriving 
at a just estimate of the relative signi- 
ficance of the causes which have led to 
victory or to defeat is always extreme. 
Genius, which may be defined as an un- 



PREFACE vii 

erring sense of proportion, is necessarily 
rare, and the person with an idee fixe 
in favour of some particular method or 
weapon will generally discover, in every 
conflict, evidence in support of his faith. 
This tendency will be most marked 
when national experience of war is lack- 
ing, and we are, therefore, compelled 
to draw our inspirations from fighting 
carried on by other peoples. 

In the long series of wars which 
culminated in the Nelson era, broad 
principles had been evolved and had 
been grasped by the leaders of naval 
thought. More than ninety years have 
elapsed since the British Navy was 
called upon to fight a great fleet action, 
and meanwhile technical progress of all 
kinds, advancing by giant strides, has 
opened out new possibilities tending to 



▼iii PREFACE 

bewilder the imagination and to invite 
mistakes and impolicy. 

Even when, as now, valuable war ex- 
perience is available, there is always a 
risk of false deductions. Conditions differ 
so greatly that generalisations based upon 
special episodes may be misleading and 
even dangerous. Thus the American 
Navy and our own have unquestionably 
suffered from shallow reasoning derived 
from the peculiar operations of the Civil 
War. Similarly, the action off Lissa led 
to a cult of the ram which has left a 
deep impress upon shipbuilding, while a 
few isolated successes obtained by tor- 

r' 

pedoes, in exceptional circumstances, have 
given rise to exaggerated claims on behalf 
of this weapon which can only end in 
disappointment. 

Instances could be multiplied, and the 



PREFACE ix 

obvious moral is the vital necessity for 
the most careful study by the clearest 
available brains before translating any 
so-called lesson of war into national 
policy. In a single year a navy of the 
magnitude of our own may be com- 
mitted to many millions of expenditure, 
the result of which will affect its fight- 
ing efficiency for nearly a quarter of a 
century. The vital need for caution 
and for profound study of all such 
experience as is forthcoming is, there- 
fore, evident. 

The battle of Tsu-shima is by far the 
greatest and the most important naval 
event since Trafalgar, and the navy 
which is able to draw the most accurate 
conclusions, technical as well as tactical, 
from its experiences and to apply them 
in terms of policy and of training 



PREFACE 



will secure marked advantage in the 
future. 

At the battle of the Yalu the Japanese 
and Chinese fleets were numerically equal 
— twelve ships — but the former had only 
three vessels (all under 3000 tons) carry- 
ing side armour, and eight were protected 
cruisers. 1 The Chinese, on the other hand, 
had five vessels with side armour, including 
two battleships, and six protected cruisers. 1 
In heavy armament the Chinese had a 
great superiority, the Japanese having 
the advantage in quick-firing guns, as 
shown below: 



GUNS. 

r' 


JAPAN. 


CHINA. 


12 -inch and over . 

Over 8-inch and under 12-inch 

Intermediate. 

Q.F. 6-inch and 4.7 inch. 


3 

8 
27 
67 


8 
17 
15 

2 



1 These cruisers had no armour protection for their guns. 



PREFACE 



XI 



At Tsu - shima the classification of 
armoured ships engaged was as follows : 



CLASS. 


JAPAN. 


RUSSIA. 


Battleships .... 
Coast-defence Armour-clad . 
Armoured Cruisers 


4 
8 


8 

3 
3 


Total, 


12 

- _ 


14 



The respective armaments were : 





12-IN. 


10-IN. 


9-1N. 


8-IN. 


Q.P. 


uUMa 


6-1N. 


4.7 IN. 


Japan , 
Russia . 


16 

26 


1 
15 


4 


30 
8 


160 
102 


30 



In heavy guns (9-inch and over) the 
Russians had the large preponderance 
of 28, the proportion being 45 to 17. 
In the smaller types, 4.7-inch to 8-inch, 
on the other hand, the Japanese superiority 



xii PREFACE 

was 50, and in the 6-inch Q.F. type 
alone it was 58. A fair inference seems 
to be that the Japanese secondary arma- 
ments played the most important part in 
the first and practically decisive period of 
the battle. 

In both actions the Japanese had the 
highest average speed — about 2 knots at 
the battle of the Yalu and much more 
at Tsu-shima, where the three Russian 
coast-defence ships, the older battleships, 
and the three armoured cruisers were poor 
steamers. Excluding, on the Russian 
side, the Sissoy - Veliki, Navarin, and 
Nicolay I., the difference of average 
battleship speed was only 0.6 knots ; 
but the condition of the Russian vessels 
was such that they could not approach 
their theoretical maximum. 

These were the antecedent technical 



PREFACE xiii 

conditions of a great battle which, in 
the startling decisiveness of its results, 
and in the fact that the victors lost no 
ship, challenges comparison with that 
of the Nile. The tangled chain of 
causation now requires to be unravelled 
by the coolest heads at our disposal, 
excluding all previous bias, and seeking 
only to apportion the true relative 
values of the various factors involved 
with the single object of securing the 
sound direction of future naval policy. 

What part did superior speed play 
in carrying destruction to the Russian 
fleet ? What guns established the initial 
superiority of fire and wrought the 
havoc, moral and material, which ensured 
victory? What purpose did armour 
serve, and how did its distribution con- 
form to the needs of the battle? It is 



xiv PREFACE 

upon the answers to such questions as 
these that our naval policy must depend. 

Underlying the experience of the 
battle of Tsu-shima there are undoubtedly 
principles of general application. It is for 
us to ascertain those principles, and to 
apply them as a test to all ship designs 
and tactical theories. 

The merit of this little work is that 
it records the impressions of a naval 
officer who apparently had no official 
duties to absorb his attention. Captain 
Semenoff had also the advantage of 
being present on board the Cesarevitch 
at the action of the 10th August 1904, 

r" 

when it was vital to the Japanese to 
take no great risks. He significantly 
notes the difference of conditions. At 
Tsu-shima, Admiral Togo was determined 
to force a decisive action. Moreover, the 



PREFACE xt 

Japanese had, meanwhile, improved their 
fuses. Thus, in the later action, "shells 
seemed to be pouring upon us inces- 
santly. ... It seemed as if these were 
mines, not shells. . . . They burst as 
soon as they touched anything. . . . No ! 
It was different to the 10th August." 

Incidentally the author notes the 
"portmanteaus" (Japanese 12-inch shell) 
"curving awkwardly head over heels 
through the air and falling anyhow on 
the water." This shows that some of the 
Japanese 12-inch guns — numbering only 
sixteen — were so much worn as to be 
unable to give adequate rotation to their 
projectiles, which consequently could only 
have hit the Russian ships by accident. 

The Suvoroff, where Captain Semenoffs 
experiences were gained, was a ship of 
13,500 tons, with a continuous armour 



xvi PREFACE 

belt 12 feet broad, tapering in length at 
the water-line from 8 inches to 6 inches, 
and vertically from 6 inches to 4 inches 
above. Her heavy armament consisted 
of four 12-inch guns in 10-inch turrets, 
standing upon 10-inch barbettes built up 
from the armoured deck. The secondary 
armament of twelve 6-inch guns was 
mounted in 6-inch turrets standing upon 
6-inch barbettes, all built up from the 
upper deck. Below the 6-inch barbettes 
were armoured ammunition hoists carried 
down to the belt level. A main armoured 
deck (3 to 2 inches) at the water-line 
level extended all over the ship. 

Such was the Suvoroff, which was 
driven out of the line in less than forty 
minutes, and after being reduced to 
the hopeless state described by Captain 
Semenoff, was gratuitously torpedoed by 



PREFACE xvii 

the Japanese. Being the flag-ship of 
the Commander-in-Chief she was doubt- 
less singled out as a target ; but, of her 
three sister-ships, the Alexander III. was 
sunk by gun fire about five hours after 
the beginning of the action; the Boro- 
dino also sank in five hours, apparently 
as the result of the explosion of a 
magazine ; and the Orel surrendered on 
the 28th with main turrets not seriously 
injured and thick armour not penetrated. 
The general impression conveyed by 
Captain Semenoff, and confirmed from 
other sources, is that the Russian ships 
were overwhelmed by the volume of 
the Japanese fire, and that frequency 
of hitting rather than weight of shells 
should be the main object. If this con- 
clusion is correct, the principle which 

guided the British Navy in the days of 

c 



xviii PREFACE 

Nelson — to close to effective range and 
then deliver the most rapid fire possible 
— has been strikingly reaffirmed. Effec- 
tive ranges have increased ; but this 
principle remains unchanged and is 
probably unchangeable. 

The trouble which arose from the 
outbreak of fire on board the Suvoroff 
and from the wreckage of the bridges 
and spar-deck, the men killed in the 
conning tower, the penetration of the 
armoured deck near the bow, the down- 
draught of smoke, the estimate of range 
("a little more than 20 cables") at a 
critical moment — all these points, which 

r" 

present themselves in the narrative, claim 
attention and careful comparison with 
other accounts. 

Captain SemenofFs impressions of the 
manoeuvring of the fleets may well be 



PREFACE xix 

somewhat vague ; but it is worth collat- 
ing with other observations. Lastly, 
the graphic touches of the author show 
with painful distinctness the terrible 
strain imposed upon human endurance. 
Few who read his account of the heroic 
signalmen "standing silently and out- 
wardly calm," unwilling to go below the 
armoured deck, wishing only for orders, 
and feeling " themselves indispensable 
to the fight," will be inclined to accept 
the recent theory that partly - trained 
and half-disciplined men are fit to find 
a place on board ship in modern naval 
war. 

Upon a correct understanding of the 
lessons of Tsu-shima the expenditure 
of millions of public money and the 
efficiency of the Navy in the near future 
must mainly depend. If this simple 



xx PREFACE 

narrative can, in however small a decree, 
help us to attain such an understand- 
ing, its publication will be abundantly 
justified. 

G. S. CLARKE. 



London, 10th November 190& 



TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE 

The following account of the battle of 
Tsu-shima, fought on 27th May 1905, 
is a translation of the narrative of 
Captain Vladimir Semenoff, a Russian 
naval officer who was on board the 
flag-ship (Knyaz Suvoroff) during the 
engagement. It is of more than usual 
interest, as the writer had previously 
served in the Cesarevitch at Port Arthur, 
and had taken part in the disastrous sally 
from that port on 10th August 1904. 

At the great battle of which he now 
relates his experiences, he was present 
in an unofficial capacity, which gave him 



xxii TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE 

unlimited opportunity for observation. 
Moreover, the fact of his being able to 
make a series of notes at the time (till 
too seriously wounded) puts an additional 
stamp of reality on to his already most 
graphic account 

It should be remembered that the 
Russian Baltic fleet — Russia's final and 
supreme appeal to the God of Battles — 
left Cronstadt for the Far East on 11th 
September 1904, and during all the long 
months till the following May was 
slowly making its way, via the Cape of 
Good Hope, to Japanese waters. The 
difficulties encountered during that pro- 
longed voyage were enormous. The 
nerves of officers and men, who con- 
stantly apprehended attempts to destroy 
the fleet, were in a continual state of 
tension : news of the outside world and 



TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE xxiii 

especially of events in the Far East was 
practically unobtainable : and yet officers 
and men, despite the additional dis- 
advantage of having to take their ships 
into action after these many months at 
sea, fearlessly entered into an engagement 
which they knew meant death, and 
fought their ships with a self-devotion 
and courage which has earned for them 
the admiration of the world. 

Admiral Togo — flying his flag on the 
Mikasa — awaited the enemy in Japanese 
waters. His fleet, which, since the fall of 
Port Arthur on 2nd January 1905, had 
been relieved of its blockading duties, 
had spent the intervening months in 
repairing damage and bringing itself up 
to the highest state of preparation in 
expectation of the coming of the Baltic 
fleet 



xxiv TRANSLATORS PREFACE 

To a nation like ourselves, whose first 
line of defence is the Navy, I venture to 
think that these pages will give food for 
thought, as, besides enabling the reader 
to see the paralysing and awful effect 
of high explosives thrown on board 
a modern battleship in action, they 
supply us with a picture of what a 
losing engagement means to those who 
lose. 

When first I took up the original 
volume I read it merely with a view to 
extracting information re fire effect, gun 
power, weather conditions, formations, 
and other factors complementary to the 
result of the battle. But the narrative 
appeared so realistic that the thought 
occurred to me to place the following 
translation before the public. 

The speed maintained by the opposing 



TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE xxv 

fleets during the battle is shown in the 
diagram attached. Dates have been 
expressed according to the English 
calendar (which is thirteen days in 
advance of the Russian) — otherwise the 
writer's own words and colloquial style 
have, as far as possible, been faithfully 
adhered to, to the detriment of literary 
style in translating. 

It may be mentioned that this narra- 
tive comes as a supplement to the very 
interesting account by Politovsky of the 
voyage of the Baltic fleet to the Far 
East — recently translated by Major 
Godfrey and published by John Murray 
under the title "From Libau to Tsu- 
shima." 

Politovsky went down in the Suvoroff, 
and his story ends with the arrival of 
the fleet at Shanghai on 23rd May, 



xxvi TRANSLATORS PREFACE 

the date on which he posted his last 
letter to Russia. The following narrative 
commences on 25th May, as the fleet 
swung out of Shanghai to meet its 
destiny. 

A. B. L. 

7th November 190& 



c 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I 



fAGS 



Weather on leaving Shanghai — a Order of 
march " — Instructions for taking order of 
battle — Accident to Senyavin's engines — 
Manoeuvres on 26th May — Spoilt by 3rd 
squadron — Unpreparedness of Russian fleet 
— A forlorn hope — Comparison between 
Russian and Japanese ships — Feeling on 
Board the Suvoroff— Togo's whereabouts — 
A discussion — Will he be misled ? — "Will the 
Russian fleet slip past? — Which course to 
follow ?— Three possibilities .... 1-24 



CHAPTER II 

Not yet discovered — Intercepting Japanese 

wireless messages — Night of 26th May — 

Doings in the Suvoroff— The engine-room 

— The ward-room — Reflections and rumina- 
xxvii 



xxviii CONTENTS 



TAOM 



tions — Commander V. V. Ignatzius — His 
opinion — A desperate adventure — Dawn 
on 27th May — The Sinano Mdru runs into 
the hospital ships — The fleet discovered — 
Recall of the scouts — Four Japanese ships 
reported — Idzumi sighted 6.45 a.m. — And 
later the 3rd Japanese squadron — Russian 
fleet takes order of battle — 11.20 a.m., opens 
fire — A mistake — Ship's companies have 
dinner — The alarm — Japanese light 
cruisers — Russians manoeuvre — Orders mis- 
understood — Result — Japanese main force 
sighted — The eve of battle — Rozhdest- 
vensky enters the conning tower . . . 25-60 



CHAPTER III 

Movements of Japanese fleet — A dangerous 
manoeuvre — Russians open fire — Enemy 
replies — " Portmanteaus " — Accurate shoot- 
ing — Author wounded — Comparison with 
10th August— Japanese fuses — Havoc and 
destruction — Gun power — A new explosive 
— In the conning tower — The enemy 
untouched — Russian ships on fire — Fight- 
ing the flames — A shell in the dressing 
station — Casualties and damage everywhere 
— Again in the conning tower . .51-80 



CONTENTS xxix 



CHAPTER IV 



CHAPTER V 

Th« Alexander leads the fleet — Attempt to pass 
astern of Japanese column — Enemy turns 
16 points — Destruction in the Alexander — 
The Borodino on fire — Defeat inevitable — 
3.25 P.M., the Suvoroff heels over — Forward 
turret destroyed — Attacked by torpedo- 
boats — Work of one projectile — Rumoured 
damage to enemy — Effect on men's spirits 
— Death of Commander Ignatzius — Torpedo- 



FA.O» 



The enemy's superior speed — His attempt to 
cross the Russian T — Suvoroff's Captain 
wounded — A funnel shot away — Steering 
gear disabled — She leaves the line — 
Terrific shell fire — Japanese reports — 
Fore-bridge in flames — Demchinsky 
wounded — Spirit of the men — Fire in the 
dressing station — Attempts to extinguish 
it — Scene on the upper deck — Author 
again wounded — The hospital — Death and 
destruction in the conning tower — 
Necessity of abandoning it — Transfer to 
lower fighting position — Admiral wounded 
— Carried into a turret .... 81-110 



xx * CONTENTS 



PAQB 



boats approach— Only two serviceable guns 
—A tour of inspection — Effect of Japanese 
gun fire — Their explosive — Kursel the 
Courlandian — Destruction of officers' 
quarters— Author again wounded . .111-135 



CHAPTER VI 

4 p.m., fleets lose each other— 5 p.m., Russian 
fleet steams northwards — Passes the 
Suvoroff— The Borodino leads— The Alexander 
heeling over — Torpedo-boats ahead !— The 
Buiny — Admiral to be transferred — 
Attempts to collect the Staff— Death of all 
hands below— No boats available — Diffi- 
culty of the undertaking— Rozhdestvensky 
put aboard— The Buiny steams off— Descrip- 
tion of the flag-ship — The Admiral's condi- 
tion— Neboga toff in command— Sinking of 
the A lexander— Overtaking the fleet— Sink- 
ing of the Oslyabya — Also of the Borodino 

End of the Spvoroff 136-162 

Composition of the Opposing Fleets . . 153 

Diagram of Movements . , , , . At end. 



c 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 



In memory of the Suvoroff 7 



CHAPTER I 

A fresh breeze mournfully droned 
through the wire rigging and angrily 
dispersed the ragged, low-lying clouds. 
The troubled waters of the Yellow Sea 
splashed against the side of the battle- 
ship, while a thin, cold, blinding rain 
fell, and the raw air penetrated to 
one's very bones. But a group of 
officers still stood on the after-bridge, 
watching the silhouettes of the trans- 

A 



2 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

ports slowly disappearing in the rain 
haze. 

On their masts and yard-arms signals 
were being flown, the last messages 
and final requests of those who had 
been our fellow-travellers on the long 
tedious voyage. 

Why is it that at sea a friendly 
greeting of this kind, expressed merely 
by a combination of flags, touches one's 
heart so deeply, and speaks to it even 
more than salutes, cheers, or music ? 
Why is it that until the signal has 
been actually hauled down every one 
looks at it, silently and intently, as if 

r' 

real words, instead of motley - coloured 
pieces of cloth, were fluttering in the 
breeze, and becoming w T et with rain ? 
Why is it that on the signal being 
hauled down every one turns away, 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 3 

quietly moving off to his duty, as 
if the last quiet handshake had been 
given, and "good-bye" had been said 
for ever? 

"Well!— how about the weather.?" 
said some one — to break the silence. 

M Grand," answered another with a 
smile. " If we get this all the way to 
Vladivostok, then thank the Lord 1 
why, a general battle will be impossible." 

Once more a signal was made to the 
fleet, and, having cast off the majority 1 
of our transports at Shanghai, we take 
up our fresh and last " order of march." 

Ahead, in wedge formation, was the 
scout division consisting of three ships 
— the Svietlana, Almaz, and Ural; next 
came the fleet in two columns. The 

1 All, except the naval transports carrying war stores, 
were left at Shanghai. — AB.L. 



4 THE BATTLE OF TSUSHIMA 

starboard column consisted of the 1st 
and 2nd armoured squadrons, i.e. eight 
ships — the Suvoroff, Alexander, Borodino, 
Orel, 1 Sissoy, Navarin, Nakhimojf. On 
the port side were the 3rd armoured 
and cruiser squadrons, i.e. eight ships — 
the Nicolay, Senyavin, Apraxin, Ushakoff, 
and the cruisers, Oleg, Aurora, Donskoy, 
and Monomakh. On either beam, and 
parallel with the leading ships, were 
the Zemtchug and Izumrud, each 
accompanied by two torpedo - boats, 
acting as scouts for the port and star- 
board columns. In rear of, and between, 
the wakes of these columns steamed a 
line of transports which we were obliged 
to take to Vladivostok 2 — the Anadir, 

1 Evidently the Oslyabya was omitted by a printer's 
error. She should come in as the fifth ship, i.e. after 
the Orel, and leading the 2nd armoured squadron. — A.B.L. 

- Cruel irony ! We were attempting to force our way 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 5 

Irtish, Korea, Kamchatka — and with 
them the repair and steam-tugs, Svir 
and Russ, ready to render assistance 
in case of need. With the cruiser 
squadron were five torpedo-boats, whose 
duty it was to co-operate with the 
former in protecting the transports 
during the battle. Astern of all came 
the hospital ships, Orel and Kostroma. 

This disposition of the fleet would 
make it possible, if the enemy appeared 
unexpectedly, for the various squadrons 
to take order of battle quickly and 
without any complicated manoeuvres 
(i.e. without attracting attention). The 
scout division was to turn from which - 

through to our base, and had been ordered to take with 
us, if possible, everything in the way of materials and 
supplies that we might require, so as not to overtax it. 
The railway was only able with difficulty to supply 
the army, and we were under no circumstances to count 
upon its help. 

A A 



6 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SIIIMA 

ever side the enemy appeared and to 
join the cruisers, which were to convoy 
the transports out of action, and protect 
them from the enemy's cruisers. The 
1st and 2nd armoured squadrons were 
to increase speed, and, having inclined 
to port together, 1 were to take station in 
front of the 3rd armoured squadron and 
proceed on their former course. The 
result would be that the three squadrons 
would then be in single column line 

1 M Together " has a literal meaning : the ships all 
change direction simultaneously to the same side and at the 
same angle. By doing this they take up a new formation, 
parallel to their former line, and to starboard or to port of 
it, moving ahead or not according to the size of the angle 
of turning. Shortly after changing direction the order is 
Again given to turn "together" at the same angle, but 
to the opposite side, and the ships thus find themselves 
once more in single column line ahead, but at some 
distance to starboard or to port of their original course. 

"Together" is the direct opposite to "in succession," 
when each ship changes direction as she comes to the spot 
in which the leading ship has turned— i.e. follows her. 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 7 

ahead, and the centre of our fleet would 
consist of twelve armoured ships. The 
Zemtchug and Izumrud were to manoeuvre 
according to circumstances and, taking 
advantage of their speed, together with 
the torpedo-boats assigned to them, were 
to take station ahead, astern, or abeam 
of the armoured ships. They were to 
be on the further side of the fleet from 
the enemy, out of the range of his 
shells ; their duty being to prevent the 
enemy's torpedo - boats from getting 
round the fleet. 

Above was the plan of battle, worked 
out beforehand and known to every 
officer in the fleet. The various details 
as to formations dependent on the 
direction in which the enemy appeared, 
the instructions for fire control, the 
manner in which assistance was to be 



8 THE BATTLE OP TSU-SHIMA 

rendered to injured ships, the transfer 
of the Admiral's flag from one ship 
to another, the handing over of the 
command, etc., etc., were laid down in 
special orders issued by the Commander- 
in-Chief, but these details would scarcely 
be of interest to readers unacquainted 
with naval matters. 

The day (25th May) passed quietly. 
Towards evening it was reported that 
an accident had happened to the 
Senyaviris engines, and all that night 
we steamed slowly. In the ward-room 
of the Suvoroff the officers grumbled and 
swore at the " old tubs," 1 as thev nick- 
named NebogatofTs ships, but, although 
natural, it was hardly fair, for we our- 
selves were little better. The prolonged 
voyage had been a long mournful 

1 " Samotopy " literally "self-sinkers/' — A.B.L. 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 9 

indictment of our boilers and machinery, 
while our martyrs of engineers had 
literally had to "get oil out of flints," 
and to effect repairs although with no 
material at hand with which to make 
them. 

That night, the first cold one after 
six months in the tropics, we slept 
splendidly, but, of course, by watches, 
i.e. half the night one half of the 
officers and crew were at the guns, 
and the other half the remainder. 

On 26th May the clouds began to 
break and the sun shone fitfully, but 
although a fairly fresh south - westerly 
breeze had sprung up, a thick mist 
still lay upon the water. 

Being anxious to avail himself of every 
moment of daylight while passing the 
Japanese coast, where we would most 



10 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

probably be attacked by torpedoes, the 
Admiral arranged for the fleet to be 
in the centre of its passage through 
the straits of Tsu-shima at noon on 
the 27th May. According to our 
calculations this would give us about 
four hours to spare, which we employed 
in practising manoeuvres for the last 
time. 

Dnce again, and for the last time, 
we were forcibly reminded of the old 
truism that a "fleet" is created by long 
years of practice at sea in time of peace 
(cruising, not remaining in port), and, 
that a collection of ships of various 
types hastily collected, which have only 
learned to sail together on the way to 
the scene of operations, is no fleet, but 
a chance concourse of vessels. 

Taking up order of battle was moder- 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 11 

ately performed, but it was spoilt by 
the 3rd squadron, and who can blame 
its admiral or captains? When near 
Madagascar, and during our wanderings 
off the coast of Annam, our ships to 
a certain extent had been able to learn 
their work, and to get to know one 
another. They had, in fact, been able 
to " rehearse." But as the 3rd squadron, 
which joined the fleet barely a fortnight 
ago, 1 had only arrived in time to finish 
the voyage with us and take part in 
the battle, there was no time for it 
to receive instruction. 

Admiral Togo, on the other hand, had 
commanded his squadron continuously 
for eight years without hauling down 
his flag. Five of the vice-admirals and 

Admiral Nebogatoff, with the 3rd squadron, joined 
the main fleet on 9th May.— A.B.L. 



12 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

seven of the rear-admirals taking part 
in the Tsu-shima battle, in command of 
squadrons, ships, or as junior flag officers, 
were his old comrades and pupils, having 
been educated under his command. 
As for us, we could only regret our 
unpreparedness, and in the coming fight 
there was nothing for us to do but to 
make the most of what we had. 

Rozhdestvensky thought (and facts 
later fully justified the opinion) that in 
the decisive battle Togo would be at the 
head of his twelve best armoured ships. 
Against them our Admiral was also to 
lead twelve similar ships (which he 
handled magnificently), and in the duel 
between them it was thought the 
centre of gravity of the fight would 
certainly lie. The difference between 
our main force and that of the 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 13 

Japanese was very material. The oldest 
of Togo's twelve ships — the Fuji, was 
two years younger than the Sissoy, 
which, among our twelve best, came 
sixth in seniority ! Their speed was 
one - and - a - half times as great as ours, 
but their chief superiority lay in their 
new shells, of which we had no 
inkling. 

What with manoeuvres, etc., the 26th 
Slay passed almost imperceptibly. 

I do not know the feeling on board 
the other ships, but in the Suvoroff we 
were cheerful and eager for the fray* 
Anxious, of course, we were, but not 
so over - anxious as to worry. The 
officers went their rounds, and looked 
after their men more than usual; ex- 
plained details, talked, and found fault 
with those immediately under them 



H THE BATTLE OF TSUSHIMA 

more than was their wont. Some, the 
thought suddenly occurring to them, 
put their keepsakes and the letters 
which they had just written into the 
treasure chest for safety. 

M He evidently means to leave us ! " 
said Lieutenant Vladimirsky, the senior 
gunnery officer, pointing to a sailor 
who was busy rummaging in a bag. 

" What I made your preparations for 
going already ? " 

" I ? ,: said he in amazement ; and 
with a grin — " Yes — I am quite 
ready!" 

" Look here ! " said Lieutenant 

r 

Bogdanoff, the senior torpedo officer, 
who was a veteran of the former war 
and had been wounded at the capture 
of the Taku forts — " To-morrow — or 
rather to-night — you'll please go to the 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 15 
office and get your accounts made 

This humour had no effect. 

" And haven't you a presentiment ? 
You've been under fire before," asked a 
young sub-lieutenant, coming up, with 
his hand in his pocket, in which was 
evidently a letter destined for the 
treasure chest. 

Bogdanoff got annoyed. " What do 
you mean by a presentiment ? I'm 
not your fortune - teller ! I tell you 
what! If Japanese guns begin talking 
to us to-morrow you will feel something 
soon enough, — but you won't feel any- 
thing before then ! " l 

Some more officers approached. 
Times without number we had hotly 

1 A play upon the words. The Russian translation of 
"presentiment" is "feeling before."- A.B.L. 



\6 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

discussed the question, — would we meet 
the whole of the Japanese fleet at 
Tsu-shima. or only part of it ? 

Optimists asserted that Togo would 
be misled, and would patrol to the 
North to look out for us, as the 
Terek and Kuban had on the 22nd 
gone round the eastern shores of Japan 
endeavouring to attract as much 
attention there as possible. 1 

Pessimists declared that Togo was as 
well able as we were to understand 
the conditions, and would know that 
a single coaling was not sufficient to 
enable us to steam all round Japan; 
we should have to coal again. And 
where ? We were no longer in the 
tropics; the weather here was any- 

1 Fate had not been kind to us. The Terek and Kuban 
met no one all the time that they were there, and no one 
knew of their presence in those waters. 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 17 

thing but reliable, which meant we 
could not count upon coaling at sea. 
Take shelter in some bay? — but there 
were telegraph stations, and, of course, 
intelligence posts, everywhere. Togo 
would learn of it in good time, so 
what would he gain by hastening 
northward? Even if we succeeded in 
coaling at sea and slipped unnoticed 
into one of the Straits, we couldn't 
conceal our movements there, thanks 
to their narrowness. And then — 
submarine and floating mines, sown 
along our course, and attacks by 
torpedo - boats, which would be easy 
even in broad daylight I 

It was impossible to pass unnoticed 
through these Straits even in a fog 
or in bad weather; how then could a 
fleet accompanied by transports hope 

B 



18 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

to escape observation? Even if the 
Almighty did bring us through all 
this, what was beyond ? — the meeting 
with the Japanese fleet which from 
Tsu-shima could always come out across 
our course while our fleet would have 
already been harassed in the Straits by 
torpedo-boats as well as every conceiv- 
able type of mine. 

" Gentlemen — Gentlemen I let me 
speak ! " exclaimed the first lieutenant 
and senior navigating officer, Zotoff, 
who was always fond of discussions and 
liked making his voice heard. " It is 
quite clear that the best course for us is 
up the eastern side of the gulf of Korea. 
My chief reason for saying so is because 
here it is wide and deep, while there is 
room for us to manoeuvre, and it can be 
navigated without danger in any weather. 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 19 

In fact, the worse the weather the better 
for us. All this has been talked over till 
nothing more remains to be said, and 
considered till nothing is left to consider ; 
even disciples of Voltaire themselves 
would admit this. Presumably Togo is 
no greater fool than we, and knows this. 
I assume that he also knows how to use 
a pair of compasses and is acquainted 
with the four rules of arithmetic ! This 
being so he can easily calculate that, if 
we steam round Japan, deciding in the 
face of our knowledge to brave the mines 
before meeting him, it would still be 
possible for him to intercept us on the 
road to Vladivostok, if, at the same 
time as we come out of the ocean into 
the Straits, he starts from . . . Attention, 
gentlemen ! . . . from the northernmost 
point of Tsu-shima. There is no doubt 



20 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

that arrangements have been made to 
organise a defence of the Straits by 
mines. The naval ports of Aomori and 
Mororan are on either side. If any one 
doesn't know it he ought to be ashamed 
of himself. Togo may tell off some of 
his smaller mining vessels to go there, 
but he, with his main force (I would 
even go so far as to say with the whole 
of his fleet) — where will he be? No, I 
will put another question : Where ought 
he to be ? Why ! nowhere else but off 
the northern point of Tsu-shima. He 
can gain nothing by loitering about at 
sea, so he will be lying in some bay/' 

"In Mazampo, for instance?" asked 
Sub-Lieutenant Ball, the junior navigat- 
ing officer. 

"Mazampo — if you like — but let me 
finish. It is childish to hope that the 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 21 

Japanese main fleet will be out of the 
way. I think we have reached the 
culminating point of our adventures. 
To-morrow the decision must be made: 
either vertically " — and, putting his hand 
above his head, he energetically waved 
it downwards in front of him — "or" — 
quietly moving his arm out to the right, 
and dropping it slowly downwards in a 
circular direction — "a longer route, but 
to the west all the same." 

"How? Why? Why to the west?" 
broke in the bystanders. 

"Because though the end may not 

come at once," shouted Zotoff, "the 

result will be the same I It's absurd to 

think of steaming victoriously into 

Vladivostok, or of getting command of 

the seal The only possible chance is 

a dash through ! and having dashed 

b 2 



22 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

through, after two, three, or at the most 
four sallies, we shall have burnt all our 
supplies of coal, and have shed our 
blossoms before we have bloomed 1 We 
shall have to prepare for a siege, take 
our guns on shore, teach the crew to 
use bayonets " 

" A bas 1 A bas ! Conspuez le 
prophete ! " interrupted some. " Hear ! 
Hear ! strongly * said ! " shouted others. 
" What about Austria's Parliament 1 " 

"Let him finish," growled Bogdanoff 
in his bass voice. 

" Having postponed a discussion of 
questions of the distant future — a discus- 
sion which makes those who take part 
in it so excited," continued Zotoff, avail- 
ing himself of a quiet moment, " I will 
venture to say a few words concerning 

1 Verbatim in the context.— A. B.L. 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 28 

what is immediately at hand. I foresee 
three possibilities. Firstly : — If we 
have already been discovered, or are 
discovered in the course of the day, 
we shall certainly be subjected at night 
to a series of torpedo attacks, and in 
the morning shall have to fight the 
Japanese fleet, which will be unpleasant. 
Secondly : — If we are not discovered till 
to-morrow we shall be able to commence 
the fight at full strength, without 
casualties, which will be better. Lastly, 
and thirdly: — If the mist thickens and 
dirty weather comes on, thanks to the 
width of the Straits, we may either slip 
through, or be discovered too late, when 
there will be only the open sea between 
us and Vladivostok. — This would be 
excellent. On these three chances those 
who wish may start the totalisator ! 



24 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

For myself, preparing for the worst, 
and foreseeing a broken night, I suggest 
that we all take advantage of every 
spare hour to sleep." 

His words had the desired effect. 



CHAPTER II 

Fate had apparently been kind to us, 
as up to the present we had not been 
discovered. The sending of telegrams 
in the fleet was forbidden, so we were 
able to intercept Japanese messages, and 
our torpedo officers made every effort 
to fix the direction from which they 
emanated. On the morning of 26th 
May and later on the same day, a con- 
versation between two installations had 
begun, or perhaps more correctly speak- 
ing it was the reports of one ahead 
of and nearer to us to which the other, 
more distant and on the port side, was 

25 



26 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

replying. The messages were not in 
cypher, and although our telegraphists 
were unaccustomed to the strange 
alphabet, and notwithstanding the gaps 
in the sentences by the time we received 
them, it was still possible to pick out 
separate words, and even sentences. 
"Last night" . . . "nothing" . . . 
"eleven lights . . . but not in line" 
. . . "bright light . . . the same star 

• • • CLv. 

In all probability this was a powerful 
coast station on the Goto Islands, 
reporting to some one a long way off 
what had been seen in the Straits. 

Towards evening we took in a con- 
versation between other installations, 
which at night had increased to seven. 
The messages were in cypher, but by 
their brevity and uniformity and by the 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 27 

fact that they commenced and ceased 
at fixed times, we were able to calculate 
with tolerable accuracy that these were 
not reports, but merely messages ex- 
changed between the scouts. It was 
clear that we had not been discovered. 

At sunset the fleet closed up, and in 
expectation of torpedo attacks half the 
officers and crew were detailed for duty 
at the guns, the remainder sleeping by 
their posts, without undressing, ready to 
jump up on the first sound of the alarm. 

The night came on dark. The mist 
seemed to grow denser, and through it 
but few stars could be seen. On the 
dark deck there prevailed a strained 
stillness, broken at times only by the 
sighs of the sleepers, the steps of an 
officer, or by an order given in an 
undertone. Near the guns the motion- 



28 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

less figures of their crews seemed like 
dead, but all were wide awake, gazing 
keenly into the darkness. Was not 
that the dark shadow of a torpedo-boat ? 
They listened attentively. Surely the 
throb of her engines and the noise of 
steam must betray an invisible foe? 

Stepping carefully, so as not to dis- 
turb the sleepers, I went round the 
bridges and decks, and then proceeded 
to the engine - room. For a moment 
the bright light blinded me. Here, 
life and movement was visible on all 
sides. Men were nimbly running up 
and down ( the ladders ; there was a 
tinkling of bells and buzzing of voices. 
Orders were being transmitted loudly, 
but, on looking more intently, the 
tension and anxiety — that same peculiar 
frame of mind so noticeable on deck — 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 29 

could also be observed. And then it 
suddenly occurred to me that all this — 
the tall, somewhat bent figure of the 
Admiral on the side of the bridge, the 
wrinkled face of the man at the wheel 
stooping over the compass, the guns' 
crews chilled to the bone at their posts, 
these men talking loudly and running 
about, the giant connecting-rods whose 
steel glittered dimly in the dark, and 
the mighty hissing of steam in the 
cylinders— was one and the same thing. 
I suddenly remembered the old sea 
legend of the ship's spirit dwelling in 
every rivet, nail, and screw, which at 
the fated moment takes possession of 
the whole ship with her crew, and turns 
both crew and surroundings into one 
indivisible supernatural being. Of a 
sudden it seemed that this spirit was 



80 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

looking right into my heart, which 
beat with unusual rapidity, and for a 
moment it seemed as if I had become 
this being to whom the name Suvoi-qff 
— so sacred to all of us — was no more 
than a mere rivet I 

It was a flash of madness, which 
quickly passed, leaving behind it only 
a sensation akin to daring and grim 
determination. 

Alongside of me, the chief engineer, 
Captain Bernander, my old shipmate and 
friend, was angrily explaining something 
to his assistant. I did not hear what 
he said, nor could I understand why 
he was so excited when everything 
had been finally settled. Whether for 
better or for worse it was impossible to 
alter things now. 

" All in good time, my dear fellow," 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 31 

said I, taking his arm. " Let us go and 
drink some tea — my throat is parched." 

Turning his kind grey eyes on me in 
astonishment, and without replying, he 
allowed me to lead him away. 

We went up to the ward-room, which 
at this hour was usually crowded and 
noisy. It was empty. Two or three 
officers, after being relieved, as well as 
some from the nearest light gun batteries, 
were sound asleep on the sofas, await- 
ing the alarm, or for their turn to go 
on watch. The messman, however, who 
was always ready for any emergency, 
brought us tea. Again on all sides this 
dreadful, painful stillness. 

" The chief thing is, not to be in too 
great a hurry. — One straight shot is 
better than two bad ones. — Remember 
that we have not a single spare shell, 



S2 THE BATTLE OF TSUSHIMA 

and, till we reach Vladivostok, none are 
to be got," came in a somewhat inaudible 
voice from behind the closed door of the 
stern cabin. Evidently a sub-lieutenant, 
Fomin by name, was holding forth. 

" Preaching I " angrily said Bernander, 
helping himself to some hot tea. 

I saw that he was very annoyed about 
something and wished to unburden 
himself. 

"Well! tell me all about it! What 
is the matter ? " 

"It is all this cursed German coal," 
he said, and lowering his voice and look- 
ing round-*-" You know, of course, that 
we had a fire in the bunkers?" 

"Yes! I know; but surely, thank 
goodness, they put it out? Do you 
mean there's another?" 

"No! Not quite! Listen! There's 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 33 

a vast difference between rapid-burning 
and slow-burning coal. Much more is 
consumed. Compared to good coal, 20 
to 30 per cent. " 

"Shut up!" I interrupted. "Why, 
what's up with you ? Are you afraid 
you'll run out? Up till now, surely, 
you have been burning our surplus ! 
You ought to have in hand the full 
normal quantity." 

"Full or not, we shall have less than 
1000 tons by morning." 

"But it's 600 miles to Vladivostok! 
Where do you want to go ? " 

" Have you forgotten the Cesarevitch ? 

On 10th August, when her funnels were 

shot away, she burnt 480 tons in the 

twenty - four hours ! Well — we are 

burning more ! " 

" Pooh ! your nerves are unstrung," I 

c 



34 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

exclaimed. "All your bunkers haven't 
caught fire I " 

"You don't understand!' angrily 
exclaimed Bernander, and, quickly 
finishing his tea, he seized his cap 
and went out. 

I remained in the ward-room, settled 
myself down in an easy - chair, and, 
making myself comfortable, dozed. I 
heard indistinctly the watch being 
relieved at midnight. Some of the 
officers coming off duty came in to 
get some tea, and in low voices abused 
the infernal rawness of the night air. 
Others stretched themselves on sofas, 
sighing with relief at being so comfort- 
able, and said : " We'll sleep till four ! 
it's a holiday at home I " 

I also went to sleep. 

About 3 a.m. I awoke, and again 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 35 

went round the ship and up on deck. 
The scene was just the same as in the 
evening, but it was lighter. In the last 
quarter the moon had risen well up, and 
against the mist, dimly whitened by its 
silver rays, the ship's funnels, masts, 
and rigging were sharply outlined. The 
breeze, freshening, blew cold, making 
me pull the cape of my coat more over 
my head. 

Going on to the fore-bridge, I found 
the Admiral sleeping in a chair. The 
Commander, wearing soft slippers, was 
pacing rapidly but quietly up and down 
the bridge. 

" What are you doing wandering 
about ? " he asked me. 

" O, just having a look round. Gone 
to sleep ? " and I nodded towards the 
Admiral. 



36 THE BATTLE OF TSUSHIMA 

" Only just. I persuaded him to. 
Why shouldn't he ? We can take it 
that the night has passed all right. Up 
to the present we haven't been discovered. 
They are still calling each other up, 
and now, even though they do find us, 
it's late. It will be daybreak in a couple 
of hours. Even if their torpedo-boats 
are near us, they won't be able to 
collect. Besides, how can they find us 
in weather like this ? Look ! you can't 
even see the rear of the fleet ! It's 
200,000 to 1 against any one running 
into us accidentally ! But I don't like 
the breeze. It's freshening. Let's hope 
it won't break up the mist. If it does 
to-morrow will mean the end of the 
Suvoroff. But it's suddenly coming on 
thicker," he said eagerly. " Why, we 
have been going for twenty- four hours 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 37 

without being seen. If it is the same 

to-morrow, we'll give them the slip ! 

They are on the move, and keep calling 

each other up, and they haven't yet 

come on us ! They'll have to wait for 

our second coming, out of Vladivostok ! 

That'll be a different tale. My ! what 

a stew they must be in ! What fun ! " 

and putting his handkerchief in his 

mouth so as not to disturb the Admiral, 

he laughed so heartily, and seemed so 

free from care, that I envied him. 

It should be stated that V. V. 

Ignatzius, in the first place, was one of 

those w T ho was firmly convinced that 

the success of our voyage — this desperate 

adventure — depended solely on the 

extent of co-operation of Saint Nicolas 

" The Casual M and other heavenly 

powers, and, in the second place, bear- 

c 2 



38 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

ing in mind the Japanese custom of 
concentrating their fire on the flag-ship, 
he believed that both he and his ship 
were doomed to destruction in the first 
decisive engagement. But, in spite of 
this, he never for a moment lost his 
invariably buoyant and cheery manner. 
He joked, chaffed, and eagerly threw 
himself into all the little details of daily 
life on board, while now (I really believe) 
lie was, inwardly, much amused, pictur- 
ing to himself the anger and disappoint- 
ment of the Japanese in the event of 
our actually slipping past them. 

But the Japanese "got the 200,000th 
chance," and more. 

At dawn on 27th May, about 5 a.m., 
the auxiliary cruiser Sinano Maru 
almost ran into our hospital ships, and 
it was due to this that the whole fleet 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 39 

was discovered. We were unable to 
see what had happened, but by the 
changed character of the messages it 
became at once apparent that our 
presence was known. The scouts no 
longer merely called each other up, 
and we now took in reports, which 
were being transmitted further and 
further to the north. 1 

Messages came in from both sides, 
so the Admiral recalled the Almaz, 
Svietlana and Ural, in order to protect 
our helpless rear (transports) from 
sudden attack. 

About 6 a.m. the Ural came up at 
full speed, reporting by semaphore that 

x According to Japanese reports, Togo, who was 
stationed with his main body somewhere off Fuaan 
was at this time in complete ignorance of our where- 
abouts and was waiting for news from both north 
and south, 



40 THE BATTLE OF 1SU-SIIIMA 

astern of the ileet four ships, which 
it was impossible to recognise in the 
mist, were crossing from starboard to 
port. 

At 6. 4? 5 a.m. a vessel appeared on the 
starboard beam, which, as her course 
brought her nearer to us, was soon 
recognised as the Idzumi. About 8 a.m., 
despite the mist, we were able to take 
her distance as 10,000 yards. The alarm 
sounding, the after turret threateningly 
raised her 12-inch guns, but the Idzumi, 
guessing her danger, commenced rapidly 
to beat a retreat. 

We might, of course, have detached 
a good cruiser to drive her off, but alas ! 
there were in the fleet only two ships 
answering to this description — the Oleg 
and the Aurora, also possibly the scout 
Svietlana ; of the remainder, the Dans/coy 



THE BATTLE OF TSUSHIMA 41 

and Monomakh were respectable veterans, 
slow, though passably armed. The 
Ural and Almaz were swift, but had 
only toy guns. Besides, each moment 
we were expecting to meet our formid- 
able opponent, when every gun and 
shell would be of value. If the issue 
of the battle were to be decided by 
a duel between our three armoured 
squadrons and the twelve best Japanese 
ships, the whole of the rest of the 
enemy's fleet would fall to the lot 
of our cruiser squadron. A struggle 
for which we must indeed reserve 
our strength ! Rozhdestvensky decided 
accordingly to ignore the Idzumi's 
daring sally, and sent no one in pursuit 
of her. 

Shortly after 8 a.m., on the port bow, 
the Chin- Yen t Matsushima, Itsukushima, 



42 THE BATTLE OF TSUSHIMA 

and Hashidate appeared out of the mist, 
steaming on an almost parallel course. 
Ahead of them was a small, light cruiser, 
apparently the Akitsushu, which hurriedly 
drew off to the north as soon as we 
were able to see her well (and equally 
she us), and the whole squadron began 
slowly to increase their distance and 
gradually to disappear from sight. 

At about 10 a.m. the light cruisers 
Chitose, Kasagi, Niitaka, and Otaiva, also 
appeared on the port beam, and it 
became evident to all of us that the 
decisive moment could not now be long 
postponed. r 

At a signal from the flag-ship, the 1st 
and 2nd armoured squadrons steamed 
ahead, and, turning "together," 2 
points 1 to port, began to take position 

1 A poiiit=llJ°. 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 43 

ahead of the 3rd squadron. The trans- 
ports were ordered to keep more to 
starboard and astern of the fleet, while 
the cruisers were to cover them on the 
port side. To starboard of the trans- 
ports was the Monomakh, detailed to 
protect them from the Idzumi and 
suchlike vessels. 

At 11.20 a.m., when the distance of the 
Japanese light cruisers was 10,000 yards, 
the Orel fired an accidental shot (which 
she immediately reported by semaphore). 
Unable with smokeless powder to tell by 
which of the leading ships it had been 
fired, the fleet took it as a signal from 
the Suvoroff, and opened fire. Of the 
whole fleet the fire of the 3rd squadron 
was the heaviest. 

The Japanese cruisers turned to port 
and, firing also, rapidly drew off. The 



44 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

flag-ship then signalled, "Ammunition not 
to be wasted" and when the firing ceased, 
"Ships' companies to have dinner at once." 

At midday, finding ourselves on a line 
with the southernmost point of Tsu- 
shima, we shaped course N.23°E. for 
Vladivostok. 

The officers also had breakfast now, in 
turn, and as quickly as possible. To-day 
there was to have been as usual a big 
breakfast in the ward-room, with the 
Admiral and his Captain and staff as 
guests : but on this occasion it naturally 
could not take place as the Admiral 
and Captain were unable to leave the 
bridge, and the staff only dashed down 
to the Admiral's table to eat a few 
mouthfuls. 

Having gone down to my cabin to 
fill my cigarette-case before the fight, 



THE BATTLE OF TSUSHIMA 45 

I happened to look in at the ward-room 
at the psychological minute. Although 
the dishes were being handed anyhow 
and whatever came nearest was taken, 
champagne sparkled in the glasses, and 
every one was standing up, silently listen- 
ing to the toast proposed by the senior 
officer, A. P. Makedonsky. 

" On this, the great anniversary of the 
sacred Coronation of their Highnesses, 
may God help us to serve with honour 
our beloved Country ! To the health 
of the Emperor ! the Empress !— To 
Russia ! " 

The ward-room resounded with cheers, 
and their last echoes had scarcely died 
away ere the alarm sounded on deck. 
Every one rushed to their stations, to 
find that some Japanese light cruisers 
had again appeared on our port bow, 



AG THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

but this time they were accompanied by 
torpedo-boats, which evidently intended 
to cross our bows. Suspecting that their 
plan was to lay floating mines (as they 
had done on 10th August), the Admiral 
ordered the 1st squadron to turn to 
starboard, so as to drive off the enemy 
by threatening him with the fire of our 
five best battleships. 

With this intention the ships of the 
1st squadron turned "in succession" 8 
points (90°) to starboard, and should 
afterwards have turned " together " 8 
points to port. The first half of the 
manoeuvre was most successfully per- 
formed, but the signal for the second 
was evidently misunderstood, as the 
Alexander followed the Suvoroff, while 
the Borodino and Orel, which had 
already commenced to turn correctly 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 47 

"together," imagining then that they 
were mistaken, turned back and followed 
the Alexander, Consequently the 1st 
squadron found itself in single column 
line ahead, parallel to the 2nd and 3rd 
squadrons, but somewhat ahead of 
them. 

This unsuccessful manoeuvre, however, 
had a most important result. The 
enemy's cruisers and torpedo - boats, 
afraid of being caught between the fire 
of both columns, abandoned their in- 
tention of crossing our course, and 
hurriedly drew off to port. These 
cruisers probably also reported to Togo 
that we were steaming in two columns, 
and he (being then out of sight and far 
ahead of us on the starboard bow) 
decided to cross over to our port side, 
so as to throw himself with all his 



48 THE BATTLE OF TSU SIIIMA 

strength upon our port and weakest 
column. 

As soon as the Japanese drew off. the 
1st squadron at once increased speed, 
inclining to port so as again to take 
station ahead of the 2nd squadron. 

At 1.20 p.m., when the 1st had got 
ahead of the 2nd and 3rd squadrons and 
was steering on its former course, the 
flag-ship signalled. " The 2nd squadron, 
maintaining its formation, will take 
station astern of the 1st." 

And now, far ahead of us in the 
distance, could be dimly seen approach- 
ing through the mist the Japanese main 
force. Their ships were crossing our 
bows from starboard to port, following 
on an almost south-west course. The 
Mikasa, as soon as she crossed our bows, 
at once altered course to the southward, 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 49 

followed by the Shikishima, Fuji, Asahi, 
Kasuga, and Nisshin. 

Meanwhile, though the flag-ship was 
already being worked from the conning 
tower, Rozhdestvensky was still standing 
with his staff on the upper fore-bridge. 

I frankly confess that I did not agree 
with his opinion as to Togo leading all 
his tw r elve armoured ships in column ; on 
10th August he ordered six of them 
to work independently, instead of joining 
his squadron. I was inclined to think 
that Kamimura would operate inde- 
pendently and, when my six old Port 
Arthur acquaintances hove in sight, I 
said triumphantly : 

" There they are, sir — all six — just as 
on 10th August." 

But Rozhdestvensky, without turning, 

shook his head. 

i) 



50 THE BATTLE OF TSUSHIMA 

" No, there are more — they are all 
there," and he went down into the 
conning tower. 

" To your stations, gentlemen," said 
the Flag Captain quickly, as he followed 
the Admiral. 

And there, sure enough, following 
after the first six ships, and slowly 
appearing out of the mist, came the 
Idzumo, Yakumo, Asama, Adzuma, 
Tokiwa, and Iwate. 



r~ 



CHAPTER III 

" Now the fun will begin," thought I 
to myself, going up to the after-bridge, 
which seemed to be the most con- 
venient place for carrying out my 
duty of seeing and noting down every- 
thing, as from there I could see both 
the enemy and our own fleet. Lieu- 
tenant Reydkin, commanding the after 
starboard 6-inch turret, was also there, 
having dashed up to see what was 
going on, as the fight was apparently 
to commence to port, and his turret 
would not be in action. 

51 



52 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

We stood side by side, exchanging 
now and again abrupt remarks, not 
understanding why the Japanese in- 
tended crossing to our port side, when 
our weak spot — the transports and 
cruisers covering them — was astern, and 
to starboard of us. Perhaps, having 
commenced the fight while steering on 
the opposite course, and having taken 
advantage of their superior speed, they 
calculated on rounding us from the 
stern, in order to fall at the same time 
on our transports and weak rear ! If 
so, a raking fire would present no 
difficulties. r 

" Hullo ! Look ! What are they up 
to ? " said Reydkin, and his voice betrayed 
both delight and amazement. 

I looked and looked, and, not believing 
my eyes, could not put down my glasses. 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 53 

The Japanese ships had suddenly com- 
menced to turn "in succession" to port, 
reversing their course ! 

If the reader recollects what has been 
said previously on the subject of turns, 
he will easily understand that this 
manoeuvre made it necessary for all the 
enemy's ships to pass in succession over 
the point on which the leading ship 
had turned ; this point was, so to speak, 
stationary on the water, making it easy 
for us to range and aim. Besides 
— even with a speed of 15 knots, 
the manoeuvre must take about fifteen 
minutes to complete, and all this time 
the vessels, which had already turned, 
would mask the fire of those which 
were still coming up. 

" How rash ! " said Reydkin, who 

could not keep quiet. "Why, in a 

d 2 



54 THE BATTLE OF TSUSHIMA 

minute we'll be able to roll up the 
leading ships ! " 

"Please God, we may!" thought I. 

It was plain to me that Togo, seeing 
something which he had not expected, 
had suddenly changed his mind. The 
manoeuvre was undoubtedly risky, but, on 
the other hand, if he found it necessary 
to steer on the opposite course, there 
was no other way of doing it. He 
might have ordered the fleet to turn 
"together/' but this would have made 
the cruiser Ixvate the leading ship in 
action, w T hich he evidently did not wish. 
Togo accordingly decided to turn "in 
succession," in order that he should lead 
the fleet in person, and not leave success 
at the commencement of the action to 
depend upon the presence of mind and 
enterprise of the junior flag-officer. (The 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 55 

Iwate flew Rear - Admiral Simamura's 
flag.) 

My heart beat furiously, as it had 
never done before during the six months 
at Port Arthur. If we succeeded ! 
God grant it ! Even though we didn't 
sink one of them, if we could only put 
one out of action ! The first success — 
was it possible? 

Meanwhile Rozhdestvensky hastened 
to avail himself of this favourable 
opportunity. 

At 1.49 p.m., when the manoeuvre 
had been performed by the Mikasa and 
Shikishima (two only out of the twelve), 
the Suvoroff fired the first shot at a 
range of 6,400 yards, and the guns of the 
whole fleet thundered forth. I watched 
closely through my glasses. The shots 
which went over and those which fell 



56 THE BATTLE OF TSUSHIMA 

short were all close, but the most interest- 
ing, i.e. the hits, as in the fight of 10th 
August, could not be seen. Our shells 
on bursting emitted scarcely any smoke, 
and the fuses were adjusted to burst 
inside after penetrating the target. A 
hit could only be detected when some- 
thing fell — and nothing fell ! In a 
couple of minutes, when the Fuji and 
A said had turned also and were follow- 
ing the first ships, the enemy began to 
reply. 

The first shells flew over us. At 
this range some of the long ones 
turned a cornplete somersault, and could 
clearly be seen with the naked eye 
curving like so many sticks thrown in 
the air. They flew over us, making a 
sort of wail, different to the ordinary 
roar. 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 57 

" Are those the portmanteaus ? " * asked 
Reydkin, smiling. 

" Yes. Those are they." 

But what struck me most was that 
these " portmanteaus," curving awkwardly 
head over heels through the air and 
falling anyhow on the water, exploded 
the moment they touched its surface. 
This had never happened before. 

After them came others short of us — 
nearer and nearer. Splinters whistled 
through the air, jingled against the 
side and superstructure. Then, quite 
close and abreast the foremost funnel, 
rose a gigantic pillar of smoke, water 
and flame. I saw stretchers being carried 

1 At Port Arthur the long Japanese shells of big calibre 
guns were nicknamed ("chemodaui") "portmanteaus." 
Indeed, what else could you call a shell, a foot in diameter 
and more than 4 feet long, filled with explosive ? 



58 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

along the fore-bridge, and I leaned over 
the rail. 

" Prince Tsereteli ! " ■ shouted Reydkin 
from below, in reply to my silent 
question, as he went towards his turret. 

The next shell struck the side by the 
centre 6-inch turret, and there was a 
tremendous noise behind and below me 
on the port quarter. Smoke and tongues 
of fire leapt out of the officers' gangway ; 
a shell having fallen into the captain's 
cabin, and having penetrated the deck, 
had burst in the officers' quarters, setting 
them on fire. 

And here I was able to observe, and 
not for the first time, the stupor which 
seems to come over men, who have never 
been in action before, when the first 
shells begin to fall. A stupor which 

1 A ilag-sub-lieutenaut. 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 59 

turns easily and instantaneously, at the 
most insignificant external shock, into 
either uncontrollable panic which can- 
not be allayed, or into unusually high 
spirits, depending on the man's char- 
acter. 

The men at the fire mains and 
hoses stood as if mesmerised, gazing at 
the smoke and flames, not understanding, 
apparently, what was happening. I went 
down to them from the bridge, and with 
the most commonplace words, such as 
" Wake up ! Turn the water on ! " — 
got them to pull themselves together 
and bravely to fight the fire. 

I was taking out my watch and pocket- 
book to make a note of the first fire, 
when something suddenly struck me in 
the waist, and something large and soft, 
though heavy, hit me in the back, lifting 



60 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

me up and hurling me on to the deck. 
When I again got up, my note-book and 
watch were in my hands as before. My 
watch was going ; but the second hand 
was slightly bent, and the glass had dis- 
appeared. Stupefied by the blow, and 
not myself, I began carefully to hunt 
for it on the deck, and found it un- 
broken. Picking it up, I fitted it 
in to my watch — and, only then real- 
ising that I had been occupied with 
something of no importance, I looked 
round. 

I had probably been unconscious for 
some time, as the fire had been ex- 
tinguished, and, save for two or three 
dead bodies on which water was pouring 
from the torn hoses, no one was to be 
seen. Whatever had struck me had come 
from the direction of the deck house 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 61 

aft, which was hidden from me by a 
mantlet of hammocks. I looked in the 
direction where the flag-officers, with a 
party of poop signalmen, should have 
been. The shell had passed through the 
deck house, bursting inside. Of the ten 
or twelve signalmen, some seemed to 
be standing by the starboard 6-inch 
turret, others seemed to be lying in a 
huddled group. Inside was a pile of 
something, and on the top lay an officer's 
telescope. 

" Is this all that is left ? " I wondered, 
but I was wrong, as by some miracle 
Novosiltseff and Kozakevitch were only 
wounded and, helped by Maximoff, had 
gone to the dressing station, while I„ 
was lying on the deck occupied with 
mending my watch. 

" Hullo ! a scene that you are 



62 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

accustomed to ? Like the 10th 
August ? " said the irrepressible Reydkin, 
peeping out of his turret. 

44 Just the same!" I replied in a 
confident tone. But it was hardly so : 
indeed, it would have been more correct 
to say — " Not in the least like." 

On 10th August, in a fight lasting 
some hours, the Cesarevitch was struck 
by only nineteen large shells, and I, in 
all seriousness, had intended in the 
present engagement to note the times 
and the places where we were hit, as 
well as the damage done. But how 
could I make detailed notes when it 
seemed impossible even to count the 
number of projectiles striking us ? I 
had not only never witnessed such a 
fire before, but I had never imagined 
anything like it. Shells seemed to be 



THE BATTLE OF TSUSHIMA 63 

pouring upon us incessantly, one after 
another. 1 

After six months with the Port Arthur 
squadron I had grown indifferent to most 
things. Shimose and melinite were to a 
certain extent old acquaintances, but 
this was something new. It seemed 
as if these were mines, not shells, 
which were striking the ship's side and 
falling on the deck. They burst as 
soon as they touched anything — the 
moment they encountered the least 
impediment in their flight. Handrails, 
funnel guys, topping lifts of the boats' 
derricks, were quite sufficient to cause 
a thoroughly efficient burst. The steel 

1 Japanese officers said that after Port Arthur had 
capitulated, while waiting for the Baltic fleet, they worked 
up to their high state of preparation as follows : — At target 
practice every gun captain fired five live shells out of his 
gun. New guns were afterwards substituted for those 
worn out. 



64 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

plates and superstructure on the upper 
deck were torn to pieces, and the 
splinters caused many casualties. Iron 
ladders were crumpled up into rings, 
and guns were literally hurled from 
their mountings. 

Such havoc would never be caused 
by the simple impact of a shell, still 
less by that of its splinters. It could 
only be caused by the force of the 
explosion. The Japanese had appar- 
ently succeeded in realising what the 
Americans had endeavoured to attain in 
inventing their " Vesuvium." 

In addition to this, there was the 
unusual high temperature and liquid 
flame of the explosion, which seemed 
to spread over everything. I actually 
watched a steel plate catch fire from 
a burst. Of course, the steel did not 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 65 

burn, but the paint on it did. Such 
almost non - combustible materials as 
hammocks, and rows of boxes, drenched 
with water, flared up in a moment. 
At times it was impossible to see 
anything with glasses, owing to every- 
thing being so distorted with the 
quivering, heated air. No ! It was 
different to the 10th August! 1 

1 According to thoroughly trustworthy reports, the 
Japanese in the battle of Tsu-shima were the first to 
employ a new kind of explosive in their shells, the 
secret of which they bought during the war from its 
inventor, a colonel in one of the South American 
Republics. It was said that these shells could only be 
used in guns of large calibre in the armoured squadrons, 
and that is how those of our ships engaged with Admiral 
Kataoka's squadron did not suffer the same amount of 
damage, or have so many fires, as the ships engaged 
with the battleships and armoured cruisers. Very 
convincing proofs of this were the cases of the Svietlana 
and Donskoy. On 28th May the former was subjected 
to the fire of two light cruisers, and the latter to the 
fire of five. In the first place, both were able to hold 
out for a considerable time, and in the second (and this 
is most important), they did not catch fire, although on 

E 



66 THE BATTLE OF TSUSHIMA 

I hurriedly went to the Admiral in 
the conning tower. Why ? At the 
time I did not attempt to think, but 

both ships — the Donslcoy, which was one of the older 
type, and the Svietlana, which was like a yacht — there 
was considerably more combustible material than on 
the newer type of battleship. 

For a great many years in naval gunnery two distinct 
ideas have prevailed — one is to inflict on the enemy, 
although not necessarily much (in quantity), severe and 
heavy damage — i.e. to stop movement — to penetrate 
under the water line — to get a burst in the hull below 
the water line — briefly, to put the ship at once out of 
action. The other is to pour upon him the greatest 
volume of fire in the shortest time — though it be above 
water and the actual damage caused by each individual 
shot be immaterial — in the hope of paralysing the ship, 
trusting that if this were done it would not be difficult 
to destroy her completely— that she would, in fact, sink 
by herself. 

With modern guns, in order to secure the first of the 
above ideas, solid armour - penetrating projectiles must 
be employed — i.e. thick-coated shells (whose internal 
capacity and bursting charge is consequently diminished), 
and percussion fuzes with retarded action, bursting the 
shell inside the target. To secure the second idea 
shells need only be sufficiently solid to ensure their 
not bursting at the moment of being fired. The thick- 
ness of their walls may be reduced to the minimum. 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 67 

now feel sure that I merely wished to 
see him, and by seeing him to confirm 
my impressions. Was it all imagina- 
tion? Was it all a nightmare? Had 
I become jumpy ? 

Running along the fore-bridge I almost 
fell, slipping in a pool of blood (the chief 
signalman — Kandaooroff — had just been 
killed there). I went into the conning 
tower, and found the Admiral and 
Captain both bending down, looking out 
through the chink between the armour 
and the roof. 

" Sir," said the Captain, energetically 
gesticulating as was his wont, " we must 

and their internal capacity and bursting charge increased 
to the utmost limits. The percussion fuses should be 
sensitive enough to detonate at the slightest touch. 

The first of the above views prevails chiefly in France, 
the second in England. In the late war we held the 
first, and the Japanese the second. 



68 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

shorten the distance. They're all being 
killed — thev are on fire ! " 

" Wait a bit. Aren't we all being 
killed also ? " replied the Admiral. 

Close to the wheel, and on either 
side of it, lay two bodies in officers' 
tunics — face downwards. 

" The officer at the wheel, and Ber- 
seneff!" ■ was shouted in my ear by a sub- 
lieutenant — Shishkin — whose arm I had 
touched, pointing to the bodies. " Ber- 
seneff first — in the head — quite dead." 

The range - finder was worked. 
Vladimirsky shouted his orders in a 
clear voice, , and the electricians quickly 
turned the handles of the indicator, 
transmitting the range to the turrets 
and light gun batteries. 

" We're all right," thought I to 

1 A colonel of the marine artillery — flag gunnery officer. 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 69 

myself, going out of the conning tow§& 
but the next moment the thought 
flashed across me : " They can't see what 
is going on on board." Leaving the 
tower, I looked out intently on all sides 
from the fore - bridge. Were not my 
recent thoughts, which I had not dared 
to put into words, realised? 

No! 

The enemy had finished turning. His 
twelve ships were in perfect order at 
close intervals, steaming parallel to us, 
but gradually forging ahead. No dis- 
order was noticeable. It seemed to me 
that with my Zeiss glasses (the distance 
was a little more than 4,000 yards), I 
could even distinguish the mantlets of 
hammocks on the bridges, and groups 
of men. But with us ? I looked round. 

What havoc ! — Burning bridges, smoulder- 

e 2 



70 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

ing ddbris on the decks, — piles of dead 
bodies. Signalling and judging distance 
stations, gun-directing positions, all were 
destroyed. And astern of us the Alex- 
ander and Borodino were also enveloped 
in smoke. No ! it was very different to 
the 10th August. 

The enemy, steaming ahead, commenced 
quickly to incline to starboard, endeavour- 
ing to cross our T. We also bore to 
starboard, and again we had him almost 
on our beam. 

It was now 2.5 p.m. 

A man came up to report what had 
taken place in the after 12-inch turret. 
I went to look. Part of the shield ovei 
the port gun had been torn off and bent 
upwards, but the turret was still turning 
and keeping up a hot fire. 

The officer commanding the fire parties 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 71 

had had both his legs blown off and was 
carried below. Men fell faster and faster. 
Reinforcements were required everywhere 
to replace casualties, even at the turrets 
into which splinters could only penetrate 
through the narrow gun ports. The 
dead were, of course, left to lie where 
they had fallen, but yet there were not 
enough men to look after the wounded. 
There are no spare men on board a 
warship, and a reserve does not exist. 
Each man is detailed for some particular 
duty, and told off to his post in action. 
The only source which we could tap was 
the crews of the 47 millimetre, and 
machine, guns, who from the com- 
mencement of the fight had been 
ordered to remain below the armoured 
deck so as not to be unnecessarily 
exposed. Having nothing to do now, 



72 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

as all their guns, which were in exposed 
positions on the bridges, had been 
utterly destroyed, we made use of 
them, but they were a mere drop in the 
ocean. As for the fires, even if we had 
had the men, we were without the means 
with which to fight them. Over and over 
again the hoses in use were changed for 
new ones, but these also were soon 
torn to ribbons, and the supply became 
exhausted. Without hoses how could 
we pump water on to the bridges and 
spar-deck where the flames raged ? On 
the spar-deck, in particular, where eleven 
wooden boats were piled up, the fire 
was taking a firm hold. Up till now, 
this " store of w T ood " had only caught 
fire in places, as the water which had 
been poured into the boats prior to the 
commencement of the action was still 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 73 

in them, though it was fast trickling 
out of the numerous cracks momentarily 
being made by the splinters. 

We, of course, did everything possible : 
tried to plug the holes, and brought up 
water in buckets. 1 I am not certain if 
the scuppers had been closed on pur- 
pose, or had merely become blocked, but 
practically none of the water we used 
for the fire ran overboard, and it lay, 
instead, on the upper deck. This was 
fortunate, as, in the first place, the deck 
itself did not catch fire, and, in the second, 
we threw into it the smouldering debris 
falling from above — merely separating the 
burning pieces and turning them over. 
Seei ng Flag Sub-Lieutenant Demchinsky 

1 By the Admiral's order the iron oil drums, instead 
of being thrown away, had been converted into buckets, 
and these home-made contrivances were placed about the 
decks. 



74 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

standing by the ladder of the fore-bridge, 
with a party of forecastle signalmen near 
the starboard forward 6-inch turret, I 
went up to him. Golovnin, another sub- 
lieutenant, who was in charge of the turret, 
gave us some cold tea to drink, which 
he had stored in bottles. It seems a 
trifle, but it cheered us up. 

Demchinsky told me that the first 

shell striking the ship had fallen right into 

the temporary dressing station, rigged up 

by the doctor in what seemed the most 

sheltered spot on the upper battery 

(between the centre 6 -inch turrets by 

the ship's ikon). He said that it had 

caused a number of casualties ; that the 

doctor somehow escaped, but the ship's 

chaplain had been dangerously wounded. 

I went there to have a look at the place. 

The ship's ikon or, more properly 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 75 

speaking, ikons as there were several 
of them, all farewell gifts to the ship, 
were untouched. The glass of the big 
ikon case had not even been broken, 
and in front of it, on hanging candlesticks, 
candles were peacefully burning. There 
wasn't a soul to be seen. Between the 
wrecked tables, stools, broken bottles, 
and different hospital appliances were 
some dead bodies, and a mass of some- 
thing, which, with difficulty, I guessed 
to be the remains of what had once 
been men. 

I had not had time properly to take 
in this scene of destruction when Dem- 
chinsky came down the ladder, support- 
ing Flag Lieutenant Sverbeyeff, who 
could scarcely stand. 

He was gasping for breath, and asked 
for water. Ladling some out of a bucket 



73 THE BATTLE OF TSUSHIMA 

into a mess kettle, I gave him some, 
and, as he was unable to use his arms, 
we had to help him. He drank greedily, 
jerking out a few words — " It's a trifle 
— tell the Flag Captain — I'll come im- 
mediately — I am suffocated with these 
cursed gases — I'll get my breath in a 
minute." He inhaled the air with a great 
effort through his blue lips, and some- 
thing seemed to rattle in his throat and 
chest, though not, of course, the poisonous 
gases. On the right side of his back his 
coat was torn in a great rent, and his 
wound was bleeding badly. Demchinsky 
told off a couple of men to take him 
down to the hospital, and we again went 
on deck. 

I crossed over to the port side, between 
the forward 12-inch and 6-inch turrets, 
to have a look at the enemy's fleet. 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 7T 

It was all there, just the same— no fires 
— no heeling over— -no fallen bridges, 
as if it had been at drill instead of 
fighting, and as if our guns, which had 
been thundering incessantly for the last 
half- hour, had been firing — not shells, 
but the devil alone knows what I ! 

Feeling almost in despair, I put down 
my glasses and went aft. 

1 In the Battle of Tsu-shima the Japanese losses were : 

Killed 113 

Dangerously wounded . . 139 
Severely wounded . . . 243 
Slightly wounded ... 42 

These figures are sufficiently eloquent, even allowing for 
the reports of Japanese officers to be somewhat partial. 
Almost half of the casualties (252 out of 537) were killed 
and dangerously wounded, the other half were severely 
and slightly wounded — less than 8 per cent. The total 
number was insignificant. Our shells evidently either 
never burst, or burst badly, i.e. in a few large pieces. 
The Japanese bursting charge was seven times stronger 
than ours, and consisted not of pyroxylene, but of shimoso 
(and perhaps of something still more powerful). Shimose, 
on exploding, raises the temperature one and a half times 



78 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

" The last of the halyards are burned," 
said Demchinsky to me. " I think I 
shall take my men somewhere under 
cover." Of course, I fully agreed. What 
was the use of the signalmen remaining 
under fire when nothing was left for 
them to signal with I 

It was now 2.20 p.m. 

Making my way aft through the 
debris, I met Reydkin hurrying to the 
forecastle. " We can't fire from the 
port quarter," he said excitedly ; " every- 
thing is on fire there, and the men are 
suffocated with heat and smoke." 

"Well! come on, let's get some one 
to put the fire out." 

"I'll do that, but you report to the 

higher than pyroxylene. In fact, one might say that a 
Japanese shell bursting well did as much damage as 
twelve of ours bursting equally well. And this ours 
rarely succeeded in doing 1 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 79 

Admiral. Perhaps he will give us some 
orders." 

" What orders can he give ? " 
" He may alter the course. I don't 
know ! " 

" What ! leave the line ? Is it likely ? " 
" Well ! anyway, you tell him." 
In order to quiet him, I promised to 
report at once, and we separated, going 
our ways. As I anticipated, the Admiral 
only shrugged his shoulders on hearing 
my report and said, " They must put 
the fire out. No help can be sent from 
here." 

Instead of two dead bodies, five or six 
were now lying in the conning tower. 
The man at the wheel having been in- 
capacitated, Vladimirsky had taken his 
place. His face was covered with blood, 
but his moustache was smartly twisted 



80 THE BATTLE OF TSUSHIMA 

upwards, and he wore the same self- 
confident look as he had in the ward- 
room when discussing "the future of 
gunnery." 

Leaving the tower, I intended going 
to Reydkin to tell him the Admiral's 
reply and to assist in extinguishing the 
fire, but instead I remained on the 
bridge looking at the Japanese fleet. 



r 



CHAPTER IV 

After steering on their new course for 
a quarter of an hour, the enemy had 
again forged a considerable distance 
ahead, and now the Mikasa, at the 
head of the column, gradually inclined 
to starboard to cross our T. I waited 
for us to incline to starboard also, but 
the Admiral held on to the old course 
for some time longer. I guessed that 
by doing this he hoped to lessen the 
distance as much as possible, which 
w r ould naturally have assisted us, since, 
with our wrecked range-finders and gun- 
directing positions, our guns were only 

81 f 



82 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

serviceable at close quarters. However, 
to allow the enemy to cross our T and 
to subject ourselves to a raking fire 
was not to be thought of. Counting 
the moments anxiously I watched and 
waited. The Mikasa came closer and 
closer to our course. Our 6-inch star- 
board turret was already preparing to fire, 
when — we sharply inclined to starboard. 
Breathing freely again, I looked around. 

Demchinsky had not yet gone below 
with his men but was hard at work, 
apparently moving the cartridge boxes 
of the 47-millimetre guns off the deck 
into the ti^et, so that there should be 
less risk of their exploding in the fire 
and causing greater damage. I went to 
ask him what he was doing, but before 
I was able to say anything the Captain 
appeared at the top of the ladder just 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 83 

behind me. His head was covered with 
blood and, staggering convulsively, he 
clutched at the hand-rail. At that 
moment a shell burst quite close to us 
and, losing his balance from the sudden 
explosion, he fell, head foremost, down 
the ladder. Luckily we saw it and 
were able to catch him. 

%i It's nothing — only a trifle," he said 
in his ordinary quick way of speaking. 
He tried to force a smile and, jumping 
up, endeavoured to go on. But as 
to go on to the hospital meant another 
three ladders, we put him, in spite of 
his protests, on a stretcher. 

A man reported that the after turret 
had been blown up 1 and almost simul- 

1 The ships nearest to us reported afterwards that the 
armoured shield on our after turret had been blown right 
up above the bridges, and then was seen to fall crumpled 



84 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

taneously there resounded above us a 
rumbling noise accompanied by the 
sharp clank of falling iron. Something 
large and heavy fell with a crash ; the 
ship's boats on the spar-deck were 
smashed to bits ; burning debris fell all 
round us and we were enveloped in an 
impenetrable smoke. At the time we 
did not know what had happened, but 
afterwards we learned that it was the 
foremost funnel which had fallen. 

The terrified signalmen, losing their 
presence of mind, huddled together right 
under the falling spar-deck, and carried 
us with them in their rush. It took 
some time before we could compel 
them to stop and listen to reason. 

It was now 2.30 p.m. 

up on to the poop. What had actually happened was not 
known. 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 85 

When the smoke had somewhat 
cleared I tried to go to the poop to 
see what had happened to the after 
turret, but along the upper deck no 
communication between bow and stern 
was possible. 

I attempted to pass through the upper 
battery, whence to the poop the nearest 
way was through the Admiral's cabin, 
but here the staff officers' quarters were 
burning furiously. Turning back, I met 
Flag Lieutenant Kruijanoffsky on the 
ladder hurrying downwards. 

" Where are you going to ? " 

" Into the steering compartment ; the 
rudder is disabled," he shouted to me 
in passing. 

" That is all that is wanting," thought 

I to myself, rushing up on deck. 

Quickly going on to the fore- bridge 

f 2 



86 THE BATTLE OF TSUSHIMA 

I could not at first get my bearings, 
because, not far to starboard, our fleet 
was steaming past, bearing on an opposite 
course. The Navarin, — which ought to 
have been astern — was now coming up 
to us, going at full speed and cutting 
through a big breaker. She especially 
impressed herself on my memory. It 
was evident that, owing to our steering- 
gear being out of order, we had turned 
nearly 16 points. 

The line of our fleet was very irregular 
and the intervals varied, especially in the 
3rd squadron. I could not see the 
leading ships ; they w r ere to windward 
of us and hidden by the smoke of the 
fires. The enemy was also in the same 
direction. Taking my bearings by the 
sun and wind, I should say that our 
fleet was steering approximately S.E., 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 87 

and the enemy stood to the N.E. 
of us. 

In the event of the flag-ship falling 
out of the line during the battle, the 
torpedo-boats Biedovy and Buistry were 
immediately to come to her assistance 
in order to take off the Admiral and 
staff and put them on board an uninjured 
ship. But, however much I looked on 
either side, no torpedo-boats were to 
be seen. Could we signal? But with 
what? All means of signalling had 
long since been destroyed. 

Meanwhile, though we were unable 
to see the enemy on account of the 
smoke, they had a good view of us, and 
concentrated their fire on the battered 
battleship in the hope of sinking us. 
Shells simply poured upon us — a 
veritable whirlwind of fire and iron. 



88 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHLMA 

Lying almost stationary in the water, 
and slowly working her engines so as to 
get on the proper course and follow the 
fleet, the Suvoroff offered her battered 
sides in turn to the enemy, firing wildly 
from those of her guns which were still 
serviceable, and, alas ! they were few 
in number. The following is what 
Japanese eye-witnesses wrote about us : l 

" On leaving the line the flag-ship, 

1 In order to establish a connection between the facts 
which I personally saw and noted down, and in order 
to be able to explain the Japanese movements, I shall 
have recourse to sources which can hardly be suspected 
of partiality towards us. I refer to two Japanese official 
publications which are both entitled "Nippon-Kai Tai- 
Kai-Sen " (" The Great Battle in the Sea of Japan ,J ). The 
books are illustrated by a number of photographs and 
plans taken at different moments of the fight, and contain 
the reports of various ships and detachments. A few 
quite immaterial differences in description of detail by 
various witnesses have not been removed, as they only 
give the stamp of truth to the publication. 

I must request my readers to I :he heavy, and 

at times incoherent language introduced by me in these 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 89 

though burning badly, still steamed 
after the fleet, but under the fire we 
brought to bear upon her, she rapidly 
lost her foremast and both funnels, 
besides being completely enveloped in 
flames and smoke. She was so battered 
that scarcely any one would have taken 
her for a ship, and yet, even in this 
pitiful condition, like the flag-ship which 
she was, she never ceased to fire as 
much as possible with such of her guns 
as were serviceable." 

I will quote another extract from a 
report on the operations of Admiral 
Kamimura's squadron : 

"The Suvorojf', subjected to the fire 
of both our squadrons, left the line. 
Her upper part was riddled with holes, 
and she was entirely enveloped in smoke. 

quotations. The reason for this is my wish to keep as 
near as possible to the original, and, in the construction 
of its sentences, Japanese is totally different to any 
European language. 



90 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

Her masts had fallen and her funnels 
came down one after the other. She 
was unable to steer, and her fires in- 
creased in density every moment. But, 
even outside the fighting line, she still 
continued firing, so that our bravest 
sailors credited her with making a 
plucky resistance." 

And now to return to my personal 
observations and impressions. 

Amidst the rumbling fire of our own 
guns, the bursting of the enemy's shells, 
and the roaring of the flames, I was, 
of course, unable to think about the 
direction to which we were turning — 
whether to ( or from the wind, but I 
soon found out. When the battleship, 
turning on her course, lay stern on to 
the wind, the smoke from the flames 
of the burning spar-deck leapt right up 
to the fore-bridge where I was stand- 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 91 

ing. While occupied in looking for the 
torpedo-boats, I had probably not noticed 
the danger creeping towards me, and only 
realised it on finding myself enveloped 
in an impenetrable smoke. Burning air 
parched my face and hands, while a 
caustic smell of burning almost blinded 
me. Breathing was impossible. I felt 
I must save myself, but to do so I had 
to go through the flames, for there was 
no other way on to the poop. For a 
moment the thought flashed across me 
to jump from the bridge on to the 
forward 12-inch turret, but to remember 
where I was, to choose places to which 
and whence to jump, was impossible. 
How did I get out of this hell? 
Perhaps some of the crew who had 
seen me on the bridge dragged me 
out ! How I arrived on the upper 



92 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

battery on a well-known spot near the 
ship's ikon, I can't remember, and I 
can't imagine ! 

Having recovered my breath, drunk 
some water and rubbed my eyes, I 
looked about. It seemed quite pleasant 
here. The large ikon case was still 
unbroken, and with the exception of 
the first shell which had destroyed the 
temporary dressing station, the quiet of 
this little corner had apparently been 
undisturbed. Among some of the crew 
who were standing by I recognised a 
few of Demchinsky's signalmen, and, in 
reply to my enquiries as to his where- 
abouts, they told me that having been 
wounded he had made his way to the 
hospital. 

They were standing silently and out- 
wardly were calm, but from the way 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 93 

in which they looked at me I noticed 
that they were all possessed by some 
undefined feeling of fear, as well as of 
expectation and hope. They appeared 
to believe, or to wish to believe that I 
was still able to issue the necessary 
order which would save them, and so 
they waited. But what order could 
I give? I might advise them to 
go below — to take cover under the 
armoured deck and await their fate, 
but this they could have done of 
their own accord. They wanted a 
different order, for they still felt 
themselves indispensable to the fight, 
if it were to be continued. These 
"tempered" men were just the men 
we wanted. 

And to me, indeed, it seemed useless 
as well as cruel to shatter their belief 



94 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

— to stamp out the last spark of hope — 
to tell them the hard truth — to say, in 
fact, that it was of no use our fighting, 
and that all was over. No ! I couldn't ! 
On the contrary, I was filled with a 
desire to mislead them — to feed that 
flame of hope. Rather let them die in 
the happy consciousness of victory, life, 
and glory, coining perhaps in a few 
moments. 

As already said, the place where 
the church was usually rigged ' — and 
which the doctor had (so unluckily) 
selected for his temporary dressing station 
— had been fairly fortunate, but now, 
abaft the centre 6 - inch turrets, the 
fire had commenced to make its way. 
Proceeding thither, we set to work 

1 In a ship there is no proper church compartment. The 
church is only rigged when a service ia to be held. 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 95 

dragging away the burning debris, 
extinguishing it, or throwing it over- 
board through the huge holes in the 
ship's side. Finding an undamaged 
water main and a piece of a hose (with- 
out a nozzle), we worked quietly and in 
earnest. We extinguished some burn- 
ing furniture, but alongside it, behind 
the thin, red-hot, steel partition separat- 
ing us from the officers' quarters, another 
fire burst forth, whose roar could at 
times be heard even amidst the noise 
of the battle. Occasionally a man fell 
wounded, and either lay where he was, 
or got up and walked or crawled to 
the ladder leading below. No attention 
was paid to him — What mattered it ? 
one more, one less ! 

How long we were thus employed — 
five, ten, or fifteen minutes— I do not 



96 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

know, but suddenly the thought occurred 
to me, " The conning tower — what is 
happening there ? " 

I went up quickly, fatigue and de- 
pression at once vanishing. My mind 
was as clear as possible, and I saw at 
once that, as the smoke was pouring 
through the great rents on the port side, 
the starboard must be the windward side. 
I proceeded thither. Creeping with 
difficulty on to the upper deck through 
the torn hatchway, I scarcely recognised 
the place where a short time since we 
had stood with Demchinsky. Movement 
was literally impossible. Astern, the spar- 
deck had fallen down and was burning in 
a bright flame on the deck ; in front of 
me was a heap of debris. The ladders 
to the bridge had gone and the star- 
board end of the bridge had been 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 9? 

destroyed ; even the gangway under the 
bridge on the other side was blocked. 
I was obliged to go below again and 
come up on the port side. Here, 
matters were rather better, as, although 
fallen and burning, the pieces of the 
spar-deck were not scattered about in 
such confusion as on the other side. 
The 6-inch turret appeared to be still un- 
injured, and was keeping up a hot fire ; 
the ladder to the bridge was whole, but 
blocked with burning hammocks, which 
I at once set five or six men, who 
were following me, to throw into the 
water standing on the deck. Suddenly 
a shell whistled past us, quite close. 
Everything seemed to start up, and 
splinters rained upon us. " That must 
be in the 6-inch turret," thought I to 
myself, half closing my eyes, and holding 

G 



98 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

my breath so as not to swallow the 
gas. Sure enough, as the smoke cleared 
away, only one helpless-looking gun stuck 
defiantly out of the turret, while out of 
the armoured door of the latter came 
its commander, Lieutenant Danchich. 

" Mine's done for too ; the muzzle of 
one has been carried away, and the 
elevating gear of the other is smashed." 
Going to the door I looked in. Of 
the gun's crew two lay huddled up in 
a curious manner, while one sat motion- 
less, staring with wide-open eyes, holding 
his wounded side with both hands. A 
gun captain, with a worried, business-like 
look, was extinguishing some burning 
cloths. 

" What are you doing here ? " 

" I want to go to the conning tower." 

4 'Why? There's no one there." 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 99 

" No one ! What do you mean ? " 

" It's a fact. BogdanofF has just passed 
through ; he said it was all smashed to 
pieces — had caught fire, and they'd 
abandoned it. He went out just as the 
bridge fell in — right on to me— 1 wasn't 
touched — lucky ! " 

"Where's the Admiral?" 

At this moment there was another 
explosion quite close to me, and some- 
thing from behind hit me in the right 
leg. It was not hard, and I felt no 
pain. I turned round to look, but none 
of my men were to be seen. Were 
they killed, or had they gone below? 

" Haven't we any stretchers ? " 1 heard 
Danchich ask anxiously. 

"For whom?" I said. 

"Why! for you. You're bleeding." 

Looking down I saw that my right 



100 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHLMA 

leg was standing in a pool of blood, 
but the leg itself felt sound enough. 

It ivas 3 p.m. 

u Can you manage to go ? Stop — I'll 
tell off some one to go with you," said 
Danchich, making what seemed to me 
an unnecessary fuss. 

I was annoyed, and angrily said : 
" Who wants to be accompanied ? " and 
bravely started to go down the ladder, 
not realising what had happened. When 
a small splinter had wounded me in 
the waist at the beginning of the fight, 
it had hurt me ; but this time i felt 
nothing. r 

Later, in the hospital, when carried 
there on a stretcher, I understood why 
it is that during a fight one hears 
neither groans nor shouts. All that 
comes afterwards. Apparently our feel- 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 101 

ings have strict limits for receiving 
external impressions, being even deeply 
impressed by an absurd sentence. A 
thing can be so painful that you feel 
nothing, so terrible that you fear nothing. 

Having passed through the upper and 
lower batteries, I descended to the mess 
deck (under the armoured one), to the 
hospital, but I involuntarily went back 
to the ladder. 

The mess deck was full of wounded. 1 
They were standing, sitting, lying — some 
on mattresses put ready beforehand — 
some on hastily spread tarpaulins — some 
on stretchers — some just anyhow. Here 
it was that they first began to feel. 
The dreadful noise of deep sighs and 
half-stifled groans was audible in the 

1 There were probably more here than in the whole of 

the Japanese fleet. 

G2 



102 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

close, damp air, which smelt of some- 
thing sour and disgustingly sickly. The 
electric light seemed scarcely able to 
penetrate this stench. Ahead some- 
where, in white coats stained with red 
splotches, busy figures were moving 
about, and towards them all these piles 
of flesh, clothes, and bones turned, and 
in their agony dragged themselves, 
expecting something from them. It 
seemed as if a cry, motionless, voice- 
less, but intelligible, a cry which 
reached to one's very soul, a request 
for help, for a miracle, for relief from 
suffering — though at the price of a 
speedy death — rose up on all sides. 

I did not stop to wait my turn, and, 
not wishing to put myself before others, 
quickly went up the ladder to the lower 
battery, where 1 met the Flag Captain, 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 103 

who had his head bandaged. (He had 
been wounded in the back of the neck 
by three splinters.) 

On enquiry I learned that at the 
same time as the steering gear had 
been injured and the flag-ship had left 
her place, the Admiral and Vladimirsky 
were wounded in the head in the 
conning tower. The latter had gone 
below to get his wounds dressed, and 
had been succeeded in command by 
Bogdanoff, the third lieutenant. The 
Admiral's orders were to steer after the 
fleet. 

The fore-bridge was struck by numer- 
ous projectiles. Splinters of shells, which 
penetrated in large quantities under the 
mushroom-shaped roof of the conning 
tower, had destroyed all the instruments 
in it, and had broken the compass, 



104 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

but luckily the telegraph to one engine 
and the voice - tube to the other were 
still working. The bridge had caught 
fire, and the hammocks — with w r hich we 
had proposed to protect ourselves from 
splinters — as well as the small chart 
house behind the conning tower, were 
also burning. The heat became unbear- 
able, and what was worse — the thick 
smoke prevented our seeing, which, 
without a compass, made it impossible 
to keep on in any particular direction. 
The only thing left for us to do was 
to steer from the lower fighting position 
and abandon the conning tower for 
some place whence one could see. At 
this time there were in the conning 
tower the Admiral, the Flag Captain, 
and the Flag Navigating Officer — all 
three wounded ; Lieutenant Bogdanoff, 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 105 

Sub-Lieutenant Shishkin and one sailor 
apparently uninjured. Bogdanoff was 
the first to come out of the tower 
on the port side of the bridge, and, 
pluckily pushing aside the burning 
hammocks, he dashed forward, disappear- 
ing into the flames, which were leaping 
upward. Following after him, the Flag 
Captain turned to the starboard side of 
the bridge, but here everything was 
destroyed ; the ladder was gone and 
there was no road. Only one way 
remained — below, into the lower fight- 
ing position. With difficulty dragging 
aside the dead bodies which were lying 
on the deck, they raised the hatch over 
the armoured tube, and through it let 
themselves down into the lower fight- 
ing position. Rozhdestvensky, although 
wounded in the head, back and right leg 



106 THE BATTLE OF TSUSHIMA 

(besides several small splinter wounds), 
bore himself most cheerfully. From the 
lower fighting position the Flag Captain 
proceeded to the hospital, while the 
Admiral — leaving here Colonel Filipin- 
offsky (the Flag Navigating Officer), who 
was slightly wounded, with orders that, 
in the absence of other instructions, he 
was to steer on the old course — went off 
to look for a place from which he could 
watch the fight. 

The upper deck being a mass of 
burning wreckage, he was unable to pass 
beyond where the ship's ikon hung 
in the upper battery. From here 

r" 

he tried to get through to the centre 
C-inch turret on the port side, but was 
unable to, so proceeded to the starboard 
turret. It was here that he received the 
wound which caused him so much pain. 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 107 

(A splinter struck his left leg, severing 
the main nerve and paralysing the ball 
of the foot.) He was carried into the 
turret and seated on a box, but he still 
had sufficient strength at once to ask 
why the turret w T as not firing, and to 
order Kruijanoffsky, who then came up, to 
find the gun captains, fall in the crews, 
and open fire. The turret, however, 
had been damaged and w T ould not turn. 
Kruijanoffsky, who had just returned 
from the disabled steering gear, reported 
that the rudder had been repaired, but 
that all three communicators with it 
were cut. Also there were no means of 
conveying orders from the lower fighting 
position to the steering gear, as voice- 
tubes did not exist, the electric indicators 
were injured, and the telephone refused 
to work. It became necessary to steer 



108 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

from the lower fighting position, which 
meant to turn round in circles rather 
than to go ahead. 

The events which I am relating in 
chronological order, and in the form of 
a connected narrative were, of course, not 
recorded in this manner by me, but were 
told me at different times and by different 
people. To attempt, however, to give 
in detail these half-finished sentences, in- 
terrupted suddenly by the burst of a shell 
close by — the jerked-out remarks thrown 
at one in passing — the separate words 
accompanied by gestures, more eloquent 
far than any words — would be im- 
possible and useless. At that moment, 
when every one's nerves were highly 
strung, an exclamation or wave of 
the hand took the place of many 
words, fully and clearly interpreting 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHLMA 109 

the thought which it was desired to 
express. Put on paper they would be 
unintelligible. 

Time was measured by seconds ; and 
there was no occasion for words. 

There was no actual fire in the lower 
battery as yet ; it was coming from above. 
But through the hatches, torn funnel 
casings, and shot holes in the middle 
deck, burning debris was falling below, 
and here and there small fires burst 
forth. The men, however, set to work, 
most pluckily rigging up cover for the 
wireless fighting station with sacks of 
coal. The trollies with the 12-pounder 
cartridges which had been collected here 
(as the ammunition supply rails had been 
damaged) were in danger of catching fire, 
so several had to be thrown overboard. 
However, despite the difficulties in 



110 THE BATTLE OF TSUSHIMA 

extinguishing the fire, it was at length 
got under. 

Besides spreading in the natural course 
it was assisted, of course, by the enemy's 
projectiles, which continued to rain upon 
us. The losses among the crew still 
continued to be heavy, and I myself 
was wounded in the left elbow, as well 
as being struck by two small splinters 
in the side. 



r 



CHAPTER V 

I remembered that in the event of 
the flag-ship leaving the line, the torpedo- 
boats, Biedovy and Buistry, were to come 
to her in order to transfer the Admiral 
and his staff to another and uninjured 
ship. In such circumstances, in order 
to avoid confusion, until the flag had 
been transferred or until a signal had 
been made as to the handing over of 
the command, the fleet was to be led 
by the ship following the one which 
had fallen out of the line. 

I do not presume to be able to 

say whether our other ships could see 

111 



112 THE BATTLE OF TSUSHIMA 

that no torpedo-boats had come up to 
the Suvoroff! Whether they could all 
see that no signal was possible from 
the battered, burning battleship, minus 
funnels and masts ! Whether it ought 
in consequence to have been taken for 
granted that the command naturally 
devolved on the next ship according to 
seniority ! and whether she should in 
some way or another have shown that 
she had taken over command ! In any 
case the Alexander (more correctly, 
her captain, Bukvostoff) carried out 
the orders and did her duty. After 
the flag - $hip had fallen out of the 
line, receiving no fresh instructions, 
she took the lead and continued the 
fight. 

From the time when I saw the 
Alexander passing close to us on a 



THE BATTLE OF TSUSHIMA 113 

south-easterly course, she steamed for 
twenty minutes, gradually inclining to 
the south in order to prevent the enemy 
from getting ahead and crossing her 
T. At the same time the Japanese, 
elated by their first success, again 
endeavoured to realise their main idea 
of a concentrated attack on the leading 
ship, and so wrapped up were they 
in this objective that they went ahead 
too fast, leaving nothing to prevent the 
Alexander passing astern in a north- 
easterly direction. 

She immediately took advantage of 
this and turned sharp to the north, calcu- 
lating with luck to fall in force upon their 
rear and subject them to a raking fire. 
The Japanese in their reports fix the 
time of this movement differently; 

some at 2.40 p.m., others at 2.50 p.m. 

h 



114 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

(the moment of the sinking of the 
Oslyabya, which under the concentrated 
fire of six of Admiral Kamimura's 
armoured cruisers had left the line 
even before the Suvoroff). According 
to my own calculations, the latter time 
was the more likely to be correct. 
If the enemy's fleet had turned "in 
succession," as it had done at the 
commencement of the battle, this 
manoeuvre of the Alexander's might 
have been successful, but, realising 
the gravity of the moment, Togo, on 
this occasion, gave the order to turn 
16 points to port "together." The 
manoeuvre was not altogether successful. 
The 1st squadron (Mikasa, Shifcishima, 
Fuji, Asald, Kasuga, and Nisshin) 
performed it correctly, but Kamimura, 
with his cruisers — probably not having 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 115 

made out the signal and expecting the 
order to turn " in succession " on to 
the former course — quickly passed our 
fleet as well as his own battleships 
(which were on the opposite course), 
and masked their fire. He then had 
plenty of room to turn (he turned "in 
succession") and, after overtaking the 
battleships, to form single column line 
ahead. 

For a moment confusion prevailed, 
for which the Japanese might have 
paid dearly, but owing to its condition 
our fleet was unable to reap the advan- 
tage. Making full use of their speed, 
the Japanese not only succeeded in 
righting their distances, but attained 
their object, i.e. came out across the 
Alexander s course, forcing her to the 
south. 



116 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

Through the starboard portholes of 
our batteries we were now able plainly 
to see the Alexander, which was almost 
on our beam and steering straight 
towards us — the remainder following 
her. The distance rapidly diminished, 
and with our glasses we could clearly 
see her battered sides, broken bridges, 
burning cabins and spar - deck, but her 
funnels and masts were still standing. 
After her came the Borodino, burning 
furiously. The enemy had already 
succeeded in forging ahead, and we 
now lay between the fleets. Our ships 
approached ( from starboard, i.e. the port 
side of the Savor off, and we came 
under a hot fire. Our forward 12- 
inch turret (the only one that was 
now serviceable) took an active part 
in the fight, and no attention was 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 117 

paid to falling shells. I was wounded 

in the left leg, but only looked down 

with regret at my torn boot! We all 

waited, holding our breath, watching 

the Japanese fire, which was apparently 

concentrated on the Alexander. At 

times she seemed completely enveloped 

in flames and brown smoke, while 

round her the sea literally boiled, 

throwing up great pillars of water. 

Nearer and nearer she came, till the 

distance was scarcely 2,000 yards. Then 

— one after another, we saw a whole 

series of shells strike her fore-bridge and 

port 6-inch turret, and turning sharply to 

starboard she steamed away, having 

almost reversed her course, while after 

her went the Borodino, Orel, and 

others. The turn was hastily made, 

being neither "in succession" nor "all 

h 2 



118 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

together," 1 and the line ahead forma- 
tion was not maintained. A deafening 
clamour resounded in our batteries. 

"They've given it up. They are 
going off. They couldn't do it," I heard 
on all sides. 

These simple folk had, of course, 
imagined that our fleet was returning 
to the flag-ship in order to rescue her. 
Their disenchantment was distressing to 
witness, but still more was it distressing 
to realise the true significance of what 
had happened. 

How pitiless is memory ! — A scene never 
to be forgotten came clearly and dis- 
tinctly before my eyes — just such another 
scene — the same awful picture. After 
Prince Utomsky's signal on the 10th 

1 Whether this turn was intentional or accidental, 
owing to the damage done to her steering communicators, 
will for ever remain a secret. 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 119 

August our battleships had steamed 
north - west in the same disorder and 
just as hurriedly. 

" They couldn't do it ! " 

And the awful, fatal word, which I 
had not even dared to think, rang in my 
brain, and seemed to be written in letters 
of fire on the smoke, on the battered sides, 
and even on the pale, confused faces of 
the crew. 

BogdanofF was standing beside me. I 
caught his eye, and we understood one 
another. He commenced to talk of it, 
but suddenly stopping, looked round, 
and said in an unnaturally calm voice : 
"We seem to be heeling over to 
port." 

"Yes — some 8 degrees," I answered, 
and, pulling out my watch and note- 
book, jotted down: "3.25 p.m. — a heavy 



120 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SIIIMA 

list to po7i % and a bad fire in the upper 
battery" 

I often afterwards thought : why is it 
that we hide things from one another and 
from ourselves ? Why did not Bogdanoff 
express his thoughts aloud ? and why 
w T as it that I did not dare to write even 
in my own notebook the cheerless word 
" Defeat " ? Perhaps within us there still 
existed some dim hope of a miracle, of 
some kind of surprise which would change 
everything ? I do not know. 

After the Alexander had turned, the 
enemy's ships also turned 16 points 
" together," and this time the manoeuvre 
was successfully performed — so success- 
fully, in fact, that it seemed as if 
they were merely at drill and not in 
action. 

Steering on an opposite course, they 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 121 

passed under our bows, and from the 
Suvoroff it seemed as if we could almost 
cut into their column. We inclined to 
starboard after our fleet. (This was, 
of course, only imagination, for, not being 
able to steer by surrounding objects but 
only by compass in the lower fighting 
position, we were in reality not moving 
ahead, but were only turning to starboard 
and to port ; remaining almost in the 
same place.) In passing close to us, 
the enemy did not miss his opportunity 
of concentrating his fire on the obstinate 
ship which refused to sink, and it was, 
apparently, now that our last turret, 
the forward 12-inch, was destroyed. 
According to Japanese reports their 
torpedo-boats came up at the same time 
as their fleet and attacked us unsuccess- 
fully, but I did not see them. 



122 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

A shell entered the gun port of the 
fourth (from the bows) 12 - pounder 
gun of the lower battery on the port 
side, and it was a lucky shot, for in 
addition to carrying away the gun it 
penetrated the armoured deck. The 
water poured into the damaged port, 
and being unable to run back on account 
of the list to port, fell through this hole 
into the mess deck, which was most 
dangerous. 

Bogdanoff was the first to call 
attention to it, and we at once started 
to make some kind of an obstacle 
out of coal sacks, and anything else 
that was handy, so as to cover the 
hole and stop the water getting in. 
I say "we," because the few hands 
left in the battery could not be 
brought to obey orders. They huddled 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 123 

in corners in a sort of stupor, and 
we had almost to drag them out by 
force, and were obliged to work our- 
selves to set them an example. We 
were joined by Flag Torpedo Officer 
Lieutenant Leontieff and Demchinsky, 
but the latter could only encourage us 
with words, as both his wrists were 
bandaged. 

At 3.40 p.m. a cheer broke out in the 
battery, which was taken up all over the 
vessel, but we were unable to ascertain 
what had caused it or whence it had 
originated. Rumour had it that one 
of the enemy's ships had been seen to 
sink ; some even said two — not one. 
Whatever may have been the truth, 
this cheering had the effect of quickly 
changing the feeling on board, and the 
depression from which we had been 



124 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

suffering, both on account of the fire 
which we had seen poured into the 
Alexander ; and because of the departure 
of the fleet, vanished. Men who had 
been skulking in corners, deaf to the 
commands and even requests of their 
officers, now came running to us asking : 
" Where could they be of use, and what 
at ? " They even joked and laughed : 
" Hullo ! that's only a 6-inch I No more 
' portmanteaus ' now ! " 

Sure enough, since the enemy's main 
body had steamed off, we had only been 
subjected to the fire of Admiral Dewa's 
light cruisei-s, which, in comparison to 
what we had been under before, was 
almost imperceptible. 

Commander V. V. Ignatzius had re- 
mained below after the second wound 
in his head had been dressed, and, 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 125 

unable to restrain himself at such a 
moment, paying no heed to the doctors, 
he ran up the ladder into the battery, 
shouting : " Follow me, lads ! To the fire 
— to the fire ! we have only got to get 
it under!" 

Various non - combatants in the mess 
deck (belonging to the hospital), and 
men who were slightly wounded and 
had gone down to get their wounds 
dressed, doubled after him. A chance 
shot struck the hatchway, and when 
the smoke cleared away neither ladder, 
nor Commander, nor men with him, 
were in existence ! 

But even this bloody episode did not 
damp the men's ardour. It was only 
one in a hundred others. 

In the lower battery where, owing to 
insufficiency of hands, fires momentarily 



126 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

became more numerous, men came, 
and work went merrily. Of the ship's 
officers, besides Bogdanoff, there came 
Lieutenant Vuiruboff, junior torpedo 
officer, a robust - looking youth, who, 
in an unbuttoned coat, rushed about 
everywhere giving the lead, while his 
shout of " Tackle it! Stick to it!" 
resounding amongst smoke and flames, 
gave strength to the workers. Zotoff 
came for a short time ; he was wounded 
in the left side and arm. Prince 
Tsereteli looked out from the mess 
deck, asking how things were going. 
Kozakevitch was carried past, wounded 
a second time, and now dangerously. 
My servant, Matrosoff, appeared and 
almost dragged me by force to the 
dressing station. I got rid of him 
with difficulty, telling him to go at 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 1*7 

once to my cabin and get me some 
cigarettes. 

" Very good, sir ! " he said, going 
off as he was bid, and we did not 
meet again. 

" To the guns I Torpedo - boats 
astern! To the guns!" was shouted on 
deck. 

It was easy to say, " To the guns ! " 
but of the twelve 12 - pounder guns 
in the lower battery only one, on the 
starboard side, was now serviceable, and 
there was no chance of using it. 
The torpedo - boats carefully came up 
from astern (according to the Japanese, 
this was about 4.20 p.m.), but in the 
light gun battery aft (behind the ward- 
room) there was still one uninjured 
12 - pounder. Maximoff, a volunteer, 
on whom the command of the battery 



128 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

had devolved after the officers had fallen, 
opened a hot fire, and the torpedo- 
boats, seeing that this strange - looking, 
battered vessel could still show her teeth, 
steamed off to wait for a more favour- 
able opportunity. 

This event suggested to me the 
idea of noting the means we had 
with which to protect ourselves against 
torpedo attack, or, more properly, to 
what degree of helplessness we had 
arrived. There were in the lower 
battery about fifty men of the crew — 
all of various ratings. Among them, 
however, were two gun captains. Of 
the guns, only one was really service- 
able, though the gun captains proposed 
to " repair" another by substituting for 
its injured parts pieces from the other 
ten which were quite unserviceable. 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 129 

There was also Maximoflfs gun in the 
stern light gun battery. 

Having finished my inspection of the 
lower battery I went through the upper 
to the forward light gun battery (not 
one of the turrets was fit for action), 
and I was struck with the picture it 
presented, illustrating, more clearly than 
I had yet seen, the action of the enemy's 
projectiles. 

There were no fires ; everything that 
could ignite had already been burned. 
The four 12-pounder guns had been 
torn off their mountings, and in vain 
I looked on them for marks of direct 
hits. None could be seen. The havoc 
had clearly been caused by the force 
of the explosion, and not by the 
impact of the shell. How was this? 
Neither mines nor pyroxylene were stored 



130 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

in the battery, so the enemy's shells 
must have exploded with the force of 
mines. 

To my readers, walking about the 
crippled wreck of a ship like this and 
inspecting the damage done may appear 
strange, but it must be remembered that 
a peculiar, even extraordinary condition 
of affairs prevailed on board. "So fearful 
as not to be in the least terrible." To 
every one it was perfectly clear that all 
was over. Neither past or future existed. 
We lived only in the actual moment, 
and were possessed with an overpower- 
ing desire to do something, no matter 
what. 

Having again gone down to the lower 
battery, 1 was proceeding to the stern 
light gun battery, which I wished to 
inspect, when I met Kursel. 



THE BATTLE OF TSUSHIMA 181 

Verner von Kursel, a Courlandian by 
birth, and a general favourite with every 
one in the Suvoroff's ward-room, had 
been in the merchant service almost 
since his cradle, and could speak every 
language in Europe, though he was 
equally bad at all of them. When they 
chaffed him about this in the ward-room 
he used to say quite seriously : " I think 
that I'm better at German than any 
ether I " l He had seen and been through 
so much that he never lost his presence 
of mind, and nothing prevented him 
meeting his friends with a pleasant smile. 

And so now, nodding his head to me 

in the distance, he cheerily asked : 

" Well I How are you passing the 
time ? " 

1 Courland is one of the Baltic Provinces where German 
is spoken. — A.B.L, 



132 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SIIIMA 

" Badly," I answered. 
11 Oh ! that's it, is it ? They don't seem 
able to hit me yet, but I see that you 

have been wounded." 

"I was." 

" Where are you ofF to ? " 

" To have a look at the light guns 
in the stern and get some cigarettes 
from my cabin; I have smoked all 
I had." 

"To your cabin?" and Kursel grinned. 
"I have just come from there, I'll go 
with you." 

Indeed, he seemed likely to be a 
useful companion, as he knew the most 
sheltered way. 

Having got as far as the officers' 
quarters, I stopped in amazement. Where 
my cabin and the two adjoining ones 
had been was an enormous hole ! Kursel 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 133 

laughed heartily, thoroughly enjoying his 

joke, but growing angry I waved my 

hand and quickly retraced my steps* 

Kursel overtook me in the battery and 

offered me a cigar. 

The fires in the lower battery had all 

been got under and, encouraged by this 

success, we determined to try our luck 

in the upper battery. Two firemen 

produced some new half-made hoses; 

one end of them we fastened to the 

water-main with wire, and the other 

we tied to the nozzle. Then, armed 

with these and using damp sacks to 

protect us from the flames, we leaned 

out through the church hatch whence, 

having succeeded after some little time 

in putting the fire out which had 

been burning in the dressing station 

we were able to go into the upper 

i 2 



184 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

battery. All hands worked splendidly, 
and we soon had extinguished the fire 
in the part assigned to the church. 
Then another fire started abaft the 
centre 6 - inch turrets — the place which 
had been selected, on account of its 
being protected, for putting the cartridge 
boxes of the 47-millimetre guns taken 
dow r n from the bridges. Their removal 
had been well ordered, for no sooner 
had we set about extinguishing the fire 
which was now raging near them than 
they began to explode. Several of the 
men fell killed and wounded, and great 
confusion at once ensued. 

" It's nothing — it will cease in a 
moment," said KurseL 

But explosions became more and 
more frequent. The new hoses were 
destroyed, one after the other, and then, 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 155 

suddenly, quite close, there was a loud 
crash, accompanied with the ring of 
tearing iron. This was not a 6-inch shell, 
but the " portmanteaus " again. The men 
became seized with panic, and, listening 
to nothing and nobody, rushed below. 

When we went down into the lower 
battery, bitterly disappointed at our want 
of luck just when things seemed begin- 
ning to go so well, something (it must 
have been a splinter of some kind) struck 
me in the side and I staggered. 

" Wounded again ? " enquired Kursel, 
taking his cigar out of his mouth and 
leaning tenderly over me. 

I looked at him and thought : " Ah ! 
if only the whole fleet were composed 
of men as cool as you are 1 " 



CHAPTER VI 

Meanwhile, having turned abruptly 
away from the Suvoroff* our fleet had 
steamed off, gradually inclining to star- 
board so as not to give the Japanese 
a chance of crossing its T, which they 
evidently were trying to do. The con- 
sequence was that both belligerents 
moved on the arcs of two concentric 
circles. Ours on the smaller — the 
Japanese on the larger. 

About 4s p.m. it seemed as if fortune 
for the last time was endeavouring to 
smile upon us. In the midst of the 
thick smoke which was pouring from the 

136 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 137 

damaged funnels, from the guns which 
were in action, and from the fires on board, 
and which mingled with the mist still 
lying on the water, the enemy's main 
force seemed to separate from and lose 
sight of ours. Japanese reports, of which 
I have availed myself, comment very 
briefly and somewhat obscurely on this 
event. Nothing is clear save that Togo, 
believing our fleet was somehow break- 
ing through to the north, went thither 
in search of it. Kamimura being of 
a different opinion proceeded with his 
cruisers in a south and south-westerly 
direction. At least, the above will alone 
explain the glowing panegyrics which I 
find in the reports entitled " The Prowess 
of Admiral Kamimura." If it had not 
been for this " prowess," possibly the 
fight would have ended on 27th May, 



138 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

and our fleet would have had time to 
close up and recover. 

Steering on a south and afterwards 
south-westerly course, Kamimura heard a 
heavy cannonade proceeding to the west. 
He accordingly hastened there to find 
Admiral Kataoka attacking (till now 
with little success) our cruisers and 
transports. Kamimura, commencing to 
take an active part in the fight, then 
came upon our main body, which, 
having almost described a circle with a 
5-mile diameter, was returning to the 
spot where the Alexander had made 
her abrupt r turn, and round which the 
Suvoroff was so helplessly wandering. 

It was about 5 p.m. 

I was standing with Kursel in the 
lower battery smoking and talking of 
subjects, not in any way connected with 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 139 

the fight, when suddenly we seemed to 
be in the midst of the fleet, which, devoid 
of all formation, was moving north- 
wards. Some ships passed to starboard 
— some to port — the Borodino — Captain 
SerebryanikofF — leading. The Alexander, 
badly battered and with a heavy list — 
lying so low that the water almost came 
into the portholes of the lower battery 
— was still fighting, firing with such of 
her guns as were serviceable. I did not 
see her, but was told that the whole of 
her bows, from the stem to the 12-inch 
turret, were torn open. 

Having closed up to the main body, 
the cruisers and transports steamed 
astern and somewhat to port — attacked 
by detachments of Admiral Kataoko's 
squadron. (In addition to Kataoko him- 
self, Admirals Dewa, Uriu, and Togo 



140 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

junior were also there.) Kamimura 
remained further to starboard, Le. to the 
east — also heading for the north. 

11 Portmanteaus " were still raining on 
us. Word had been received from the 
engine-room that the men were being 
suffocated and rapidly falling out, as the 
ventilators were bringing down smoke 
instead of air; soon there would be no 
men left to work the engines! Mean- 
while, the electric light grew dim, and 
it was reported from the dynamo engines 
that steam was scarce. 

" Torpedo-boats ahead ! " 

We rushed to our only gun (the other 
had been found to be past repair), but 
it turned out to be the Buiny, which 
happened to be passing us, and was on 
her own initiative coming alongside the 
crippled battleship to enquire if she 
could be of any assistance, 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA HI 

Kruijanoffsky was ordered by the flag- 
captain, who was standing on the em- 
brasure, to semaphore to her (with his 
arms) to " take off the Admiral." 

I was watching the Buiny's move- 
ments from the battery, when suddenly 
the Admiral's messenger, Peter Poochkoff, 
hastened towards me. 

" Please come to the turret, sir! a 
torpedo-boat has come alongside, but 
the Admiral won't leave." 

I ought to mention here that Rozhdest- 
vensky had not been to the dressing 
station, and none of us knew how badly 
he was wounded because, to all enquiries 
when he was hit, he angrily replied that 
it was only a trifle. He still remained 
sitting on the box in the turret, where 
he had been placed. 

At times he would look up to ask how 



142 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

the battle was progressing, and then 
would again sit silently, with his eyes 
on the ground. Considering, however, 
the state the ship was in, what else 
could he do ? His conduct seemed most 
natural, and it never occurred to us that 
these questions were merely momentary 
flashes of energy — short snatches of 
consciousness. 

On the arrival of the torpedo - boat 
being reported, he pulled himself together, 
and gave the order to "Collect the staff," ' 

1 Of all the wounded members of the staff, who were 
below, under the armoured deck, it was only possible to 
"collect" two— rFilipinoffsky and Leontieff. The former 
was in the lower fighting position, which was hermetically 
separated from the mess deck, and received a current of 
fresh air through the armoured tube of the conning 
tower. (All the same he had to sit by candle light, as the 
lamps had gone out.) The latter was at the exit hatch. 
The mess deck was in darkness (the electric light had 
gone out) and was full of suffocating smoke. Hurrying 
along to find the staff, we called them by name ; but 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 145 

with perfect clearness, but afterwards, 
he only frowned, and would listen to 
nothing. 

Assisted by Kursel I crept through 
the open half-port of the lower battery, 
out on to the starboard embrasure in 
front of the centre 6-inch turret. I was 
in need of help, as my right leg had 
become very painful, and I could only 
limp on the heel of my left. 

The boatswain and some sailors were 
at work on the embrasure, sweeping 

received no answers. The silence of the dead reigned 
in that smoky darkness, and it is probable that all who 
were in the closed compartments under the armoured 
deck, where the ventilators took smoke instead of air, 
gradually becoming suffocated, lost consciousness and died. 
The engines had ceased to work. The electric light had 
given out for want of steam ; and no one came up from 
below. Of the 900 men composing the complement of the 
Suvoroff, it would not be far wrong to say that, at this 
time there remained alive only those few who were 
gathered together in the lower battery and on the wind- 
ward embrasure. 



144 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

overboard the burning ddbris which had 
fallen from the spar-deck above. Lying 
off our starboard bow, and some three or 
four cables distant, was the Kamchatka, 
Kamimura's cruisers were pouring as 
heavy a fire into her as into us, but she 
was an easier victim. 

The Buiny kept close alongside, 
dancing up and down. Her Captain, 
Kolomeytseff, shouting through his 
speaking trumpet, asked : " Have you a 
boat in w r hich to take off the Admiral? 
We haven't ! " To this the flag Captain 
and Kruijanoffsky made some reply. 
I looked «at the turret. Its armoured 
door was damaged and refused to open 
properly, so that it was very doubtful 
if anything as big as a man could 
get through. The Admiral was sitting 
huddled up, with his eyes on the 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 145 

ground ; his head was bandaged in a 
blood-stained towel. 

" Sir, the torpedo-boat is alongside ! 
we must go," I said. 

" Call Filipinoffsky," he replied, without 
moving. 

Rozhdestvensky evidently intended to 
lead the fleet after hoisting his flag on 
another ship, and therefore wanted to 
have with him the flag navigating 
officer, who was responsible for the dead- 
reckoning and safety of manoeuvres. 

"He will be here in a minute; they 
have gone for him." The Admiral 
merely shook his head. 

I have not laid stress on the fact that 
before transferring him to another ship 
it was necessary to try and arrange 
some means of getting him there. 

Kursel, with the boatswain and two 

K 



146 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

or three sailors, had got hold of some 
half-burned hammocks and rope from 
the upper battery, and with these had 
begun to lash together something in 
the shape of a raft on which to lower 
the Admiral into the water and put 
him on board the torpedo - boat. It 
was risky, but nothing else was to 
hand. 

The raft was ready. Filipinoffsky 
appeared, and I hurried to the turret. 

" Come out, sir I Filipinoffsky is 
here." 

Rozhdestvensky gazed at us, shaking 
his head, and not uttering a syllable. 

"I don't want to. No." 

We were at a loss how to proceed. 

" What are you staring at ? " suddenly 
said Kursel. " Carry him ; can't you see 
he is badly wounded ? " 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 147 

It seemed as if it was only for these 
words and the impulse they supplied for 
which we were waiting. There was a 
hum of voices and much bustling about. 
Some forcing their way into the turret, 
took hold of the Admiral by his arms 
and raised him up, but no sooner had 
he put his left leg to the ground than 
he groaned and completely lost conscious- 
ness. It was the best thing that could 
have happened. 

M Bring him along ! Bring him along I 
Splendid I Easy now ! the devil 1 Take 
him along the side I Get to the side, 
can't you ? Stop— something's cracking ! 
What ? his coat is being torn I Carry 
him along ! " were the anxious shouts 
one heard on all sides. Having taken off 
the Admiral's coat, they dragged him 
with the greatest difficulty through the 



148 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

narrow opening of the jammed door 
out on to the after embrasure, and were 
just proceeding to fasten him to the raft, 
when Kolomeytseff did, what a man 
does only once in his life, and then 
when inspired. My readers who are 
landsmen will not realise all the danger of 
what we were to attempt, but sailors will 
easily understand the risk. Kolomeytseff 
brought his vessel alongside and to 
windward of the mutilated battleship, 
out of whose battered gun ports stuck 
her crippled guns, and from whose 
side projected the broken booms of 
her torpedo - nets. l Dancing up and 
down on the waves the torpedo - boat 
at one moment rose till her deck was 
almost on a level with the embrasure, 

1 It was impossible to come up on the leeward side, 
because of the smoke and flames. 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 149 

then rapidly sank away below ; next 
moment she was carried away, and then 
again was seen struggling towards us, 
being momentarily in danger of staving 
in her thin side against one of the 
many projections from this motionless 
mass. 

The Admiral was carried hurriedly 
from the after to the bow embrasure, 
along the narrow gangway between the 
turrets and the battered side of the 
upper battery. From here, off the 
backs of the men who were standing 
by the open half - port, holding on to 
the side, he was lowered down, almost 
thrown, on board the torpedo-boat, at 
a moment when she rose on a wave 
and swung towards us. 1 

1 He was transferred to the Biedovy on the morning of 
28th May.— A.B.L. 

K 2 



150 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

"Hurrah I the Admiral is on board!" 
shouted Kursel, waving his cap. 

" Hurrah I " cheered every one. 

How I, with my wounded legs, 
boarded her, I don't remember. I can 
only recollect that, lying on the hot 
engine-room hatch between the funnels, 
I gazed at the Suvoroff, unable to take 
my eyes off her. It was one of those 
moments which are indelibly impressed 
upon the mind. 

Our position alongside the Suvoroff 
was extremely dangerous, as, besides 
the risk of being crushed, we might, 
at any moment, have been sunk by a 
shell, for the Japanese still poured in 
a hot fire upon both the flag-ship and 
the Kamchatka. Several of the Buinys 
crew had already been killed and 
wounded with splinters, and a lucky 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 151 

shot might at any moment send us to 
the bottom. 

" Push off quickly I " shouted Kursel 
from the embrasure. 

"Push off— push off— don't waste a 
moment — don't drown the Admiral ! " 
bawled Bogdanoff, leaning over the side 
and shaking his fist at our captain. 

"Push off — push off I " repeated the 
crew, looking out of the battery ports 
and waving their caps. 

Choosing a moment when she was 
clear of the side, Kolomeytseff gave the 
order "Full speed astern." 

Farewell shouts reached us from the 
Suvoroff. I say from the " Suvoroff" 
but who would have recognised the, 
till recently, formidable battleship in 
this crippled mass, which was now 
enveloped in smoke and flames ? 



152 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

Her mainmast was cut in half. Her 
foremast and both funnels had been 
completely carried away, while her high 
bridges and galleries had been rent 
in pieces, and instead of them shape- 
less piles of distorted iron were heaped 
upon the deck. She had a heavy list 
to port, and, in consequence of it, we 
could see the hull under the water 
line on her starboard side reddening 
the surface of the water, while great 
tongues of fire were leaping out of 
numerous rents. 

We rapidly steamed away, followed 
by a brisk fire from those of the 
enemy's ships which had noticed our 
movements. 

It was 5. 30 p.m. 

As I have previously remarked, up 
to the last moment in the Suvoroff we 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 153 

none of us were aware of the nature 
of the Admiral's wounds, and, therefore, 
the immediate question on board the 
Buiny was, which ship was he to board 
in order to continue in command of the 
fleet? When, however, the surgeon, 
Peter Kudinoff, came to render first 
aid, we at once learned of how the 
matter lay, for Kudinoff declared that 
his life was in danger; that he was 
suffering from fracture of the skull — a 
portion of it having entered his brain— 
and that any jolt might have fatal 
results. Taking into consideration the 
condition of the weather — a fresh breeze 
and a fairly heavy swell — he said it 
would be impossible to transfer him 
to another ship. Moreover, he was 
unable to stand, and his general con- 
dition, loss of power and memory, 



154 THE BATTLE OF TSUSHIMA 

wandering, and short flashes of con- 
sciousness, rendered him incapable of any 
action. 

From the Buiny's engine-room hatch, 
on which I had chanced to take up my 
position on going aboard, I proceeded 
to the bridge, but found that 1 was 
not able to stand here because of the 
rolling, and could only lie. However, 
while lying down, I was so in the way 
of those on duty that the Commander 
advised me in as nice a way as possible 
to go elsewhere — to the hospital. 

We were now overtaking the fleet, 
and the flag Captain decided that before 
making any signal, we must in spite 
of above consult the Admiral, and this 
was entrusted to me. Picking my way 
astern with great difficulty, I went down 
the ladder and looked into the Captain's 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 155 

cabin. The surgeon had finished dress- 
ing the Admiral's wounds, and the latter 
was lying motionless in a hammock with 
half - closed eyes. But he was still 
conscious. 

On my asking him if he felt strong 
enough to continue in command, and 
what ship he wished to board, he turned 
towards me with an effort, and for a 
while seemed trying to remember some- 
thing. 

" No — where am I ? You can see 
— command — Nebogatoff," he muttered 
indistinctly, and then, with a sudden 
burst of energy, added, " Keep on Vladi- 
vostok — course N.23°E.," and again 
relapsed into a stupor. 

Having sent his reply to the flag 
Captain (I don't remember by whom, 
but I think it was by Leontieff) I 



108 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

intended to remain in the ward-room, 
but there was no room. All the cabins 
and even the upper deck were full of 
men, as, before coming to the Suvorqff, 
the Buiny had picked up over 200 men 
at the spot where the Oslyabya sank. 
Amongst them were wounded sailors who 
had been swimming about in the salt 
water, and others who, when taken up, 
had been half drowned. The latter, 
contracted with cramp, and racked with 
tormenting coughs and pains in their 
chests, seemed with their bluish faces 
to be in a worse plight than the most 
badly wounded. 

Passing on to the upper deck I seated 
myself on a box by the ladder to the 
officers' quarters. 

Signals were fluttering from our mast 
and orders were being given by sema- 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 157 

phore to the torpedo-boats, Bezuprechny 
and Biedovy, which were now close up to 
us. 1 We had already caught up the fleet 
and were steaming, together with the 
transports, which were covered, ahead 
and to starboard, by our cruisers. Still 
further to starboard, and some 30 cables 
off, was our main force. The Borodino 
was leading, and after her came the Orel ; 
but the Alexander was nowhere to be 
seen. 3 In the distance, still further off, 
could dimly be made out in the dusk, 
which was now rapidly creeping on, 
the silhouettes of the Japanese ships — 
steaming parallel to us. The flashes of 
their guns twinkled incessantly along 

1 The Bezuprechny was ordered to go to the Nicolay and 
to give (by semaphore) the late commander's instructions 
to the new, i.e. Nebogatoff. The Biedovy was sent to the 
Suvoroff to take off the remainder of her complement, but 
the flag-ship could not be found. 

8 She had gone down about 5,30 p.m. 



158 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

the line, but the stubborn fight was not 
yet at an end ! 

Alongside of me I recognised an 
officer of the Oslyabya> and asked him 
what had actually caused his ship to 
sink? 

Waving his arm in a helpless sort of 
way, and in a voice full of disgust, he 
jerked out : " How ? it's not very pleasant 
to remember. Absolutely no luck, that's 
what sunk her. Nothing but bad luck ! 
They shot straight enough — but it wasn't 
shooting. It wasn't skill either. It 
was luck — infernal luck ! Three shells, 
one after the other, almost in the same 
identical spot — Imagine it ! All of them 
in the same place ! All on the water 
line under the forward turret ! Not 
a hole — but a regular gateway I Three 
of them penetrated her together. She 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 159 

almost heeled over at once — then settled 
under the water. A tremendous rush of 
water and the partitions were naturally 
useless. The devil himself couldn't have 
done anything I " he hysterically ex- 
claimed, and, covering his face with his 
hands, went on deck. 

About 7 p*m. the enemy's torpedo- 
boats appeared across the course on 
which our main force was steering, but 
rapidly drew off as our cruisers opened 
fire on them. 

" Perhaps they've laid mines ! " I 
thought to myself, and turned on 
my box, trying to make myself more 
easy. 

" The Borodino I Look ! the Boro- 
dino ! " was shouted on all sides. 

I raised myself, as quickly as possible 
on my arm, but where the Borodino had 



160 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

been nothing was visible save a patch of 
white foam ! 

It was 7.10 p.m. 

The enemy's fleet having turned sharply 
to starboard, bore off to the east, and 
in its place was a group of torpedo- 
boats, which now surrounded us in a 
semicircle from the north, east, and 
west. Preparing to receive their attacks 
from astern, our cruisers, and we 
after them, gradually inclined to port, 
— and then bore almost direct to the 
west — straight towards the red sky. 
(There was no compass near me.) 

At 7.40 p.m. I still was able to 
see our battleships, steaming astern 
of us devoid of formation, and defend- 
ing themselves from the approaching 
torpedo-boats by firing. This was my 
last note. 



THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 161 

Feeling weak from loss of blood and 
from the inflammation of my wounds, 
which were dirty and had not been 
bandaged, I began to shiver. My head 
swam, and I went below to get help. 

And what of the Suvoroff\ This is 
how a Japanese report describes her last 
moments : 

" In the dusk, when our cruisers were 
driving the enemy northwards, they 
came upon the Suvoroff alone, at some 
distance from the fight, heeling over 
badly and enveloped in flames and 
smoke. The division (Captain - Lieu- 
tenant Fudzimoto) of torpedo - boats, 
which was with our cruisers, was at 
once sent to attack her. Although 
much burned and still on fire— although 
she had been subjected to so many 
attacks, having been fired at by all the 
fleet (in the full sense of the word) — 
although she had only one serviceable 



162 THE BATTLE OF TSU-SHIMA 

gun — she still opened fire, showing her 
determination to defend herself to the 
last moment of her existence — so long, 
in fact, as she remained above water. 
At length, about 7 p.m., after our 
torpedo - boats had twice attacked her, 
she went to the bottom." 



TO THE EVERLASTING MEMORY OF 
THE HEROES WHO PERISHED 1 



COMPOSITION OF THE FLEETS 163 



COMPOSITION OF THE 
OPPOSING FLEETS. 



RUSSIAN. 


JAPANESE. 


1st Armoured Squadron. 


1st Squadron. 


Knyaz Suvoroff. {Flag. 
Imperator Alexander. 
Borodino. 
Orel. 


) Mikasa. {Flag,) 
Shikishima. 
Fuji. 
Asahi. 




Kasuga. 
Nisshin. 


2nd Armoured Squadron. 


2nd Squadron. 


Oslyabya. 
Sissoy Veliki. 
Navarin. 


Idzumo. 

Yakumo. 

Asama. 


Admiral Nakhimoff. 


Adzuma. 
TokiwOn. 




Iwate. 


3rd Armoured Squadron. 




Imperator Nicolay. 
Admiral Senyavin. 
Admiral Apraxin. 
Admiral Ushakoff. 





164 COMPOSITION OF THE FLEETS 



CRUISERS. 


RUSSIAN. 


JAPANESE. 


Cruiser Squadron. 
Okg. 

Aurora. 

Dmitri Donskoy. 

Vladimir Monomakh. 


3rd Squadron. 

1st Division. 
Itsukushima. 
Matsushima. 
Hasidate. 




Chin Yen, 




2nd Division. 




Suma. 




Chiyoda. 
Idzumi. 




Akitsitshu. 




3rd Division. 




Kasagi. 
Chitose. 




Otawa* 




Niitaka. 


c 


4th Division. 




Naniwa. 


Scout Division. 


Takachiha. 
Tsushima. 


Svietlana. 


Akashi. 


AUXILIARY 


CRUISERS. 


Almaz. 


16 Cruisers. 


Ural 





COMPOSITION OF THE FLEETS 165 



CRUISERS DETAILED FOR COOPERA* 
TION WITH TORPEDO-BOATS, 



RUSSIAN. 


JAPANESE, 


Zemtchug. 
Izumrud. 


Toyohashi. 

Maya, 

Takao, 




Chihaya* 
Tatsuta, 




Uji. 

Yaeyama, 
Chokai, 




Yamato* 




Tsukushi 



DESTROYERS AND TORPEDO-BOATS, 



9 Destroyers. 



25 Destroyers. 

12 Torpedo-Boats, 1st Class, 
55 „ 2nd Class. 

IS * 3rd Clasa. 



r 



r 



PRINTED AT THE EDINBURGH PRESS 
9 AND 11 YOUNG STREET. 



r 



r